En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - March 27, 2009

From: Wimberley, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Cutting back Pampas grass.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

When and how much should I cut back Pampas grass in the Hill Country of Texas.

ANSWER:

There are those who say the only good Pampas grass is an eradicated Pampas grass.  That sentiment is understandable since Pampas grass, Cortaderia selloana, is an invasive species in some parts of the country.  It would likely be much more invasive if not for its dioecious nature; that is, it produces male and female flowers on separate plants.  Most often only the female-flowered plants - which are, by far the showier of the two sexes - are sold in nurseries.  Without a source of pollen from a male plant, those big female plumes simply produce no viable seed.  Lest you think you're totally in the clear on creating yet another Hill Country non-native invasion, we would like to remind you that it takes just one male plant (and some people DO grow male plants) to create the right conditions for the next big invasive disaster.  Should you decide to remove your Pampas grass altogether, the Texas native, Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (Lindheimer's muhly), makes a pretty nice, though not quite as showy, substitute.

Now, to answer your question.  In late winter, cut it back hard to within two feet or so of the soil.  Do this before new growth begins to emerge.


Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

 

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Invasive Cissus trifoliata in Dallas
May 25, 2011 - I have finally identified an invasive, stinky vine in my urban landscape as Cissus trifoliata. It was waxy leaves, small greenish flowers, and small black berries. It appears to spread with undergrou...
view the full question and answer

Will Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) roots cause problems in a leach field?
January 14, 2010 - A new neighbor is concerned my Arbovitae's root system will go into his leach field. His house has been there also for the same amount of time as the tree and the field. The tree is 45 years old. Do...
view the full question and answer

Is Jerusalem thorn native to Central Texas?
July 17, 2009 - I was reading about Retama (Parkinsonia aculeata) which is native to South America and naturalized throughout Texas and the southern US. I also read that it is considered an invasive plant species in...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Japanese privet from Glendale AZ
December 26, 2012 - We have Japanese privet shrub and they seem to be suffering from a disease, need help.
view the full question and answer

Difficulty with Clay Soil from Palm Bay, FL
August 22, 2012 - I had a very nice little native shady area behind my house for over 40 years, but now it has been cleared except for a 100 foot tall live oak in the center of this raised mound (50' x 80'). I've be...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center