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

Tuesday - June 09, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: How do I get rid of Smilax bona-nox?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Hi, we live in Circle C and our home backs to an easment area which has become overrun with what some are calling wild grapevine. Recently we noticed a different vine coming up in our backyard through our grass. It is different than the stuff growing in the easement because it has thorns (nasty ones even on the leaves). I think it is Smilax Bona-nox and would like to know the most effective way of getting rid of it. I have read that it has a rhizome system similar to that of bamboo and if you continuously cut it back it may deplete the system (we battled bamboo this way successfully), but have also read about using salt on it. I don't know if it is possible to dig it up since it is under our grass. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER:

There are several plants in the genus Smilax that are referred to as briers. In addition to Smilax bona-nox,  two other species, Smilax glauca and Smilax rotundifolia,can present similar problems. Click on each name to view images to confirm your identification.

Now the easy part is over; getting rid of the pest can be a lot of work. However, since you conquered bamboo, you are up to the task because the approach is similar. I'm referring you to a couple of previous questions that deal with eradication of Smilax.

Question one

Question two

I don't know what you read about salt, but salt is very non selective. I can not think of a way that the salt would affect only the catbrier and not your other plants.

 

 

 

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Eliminating evasive Celastrus orbiculatus (Oriental bittersweet)
July 21, 2013 - I have Oriental Bittersweet growing pervasively in my shrub garden, strangling my shrubs and growing into my beautiful Victorian porch. I can't keep up with it! What can I do?
view the full question and answer

Eradiacation of johnsongrass along roadways
August 19, 2008 - What does latest research show on eradication of Johnsongrass along roadways?
view the full question and answer

Will non-native and invasive Mexican petunias grow under oak trees from St. Augustine FL
March 24, 2013 - Will Mexican Petunias grow under an Oak tree?
view the full question and answer

Care for indoor ivy from Carollton TX
January 26, 2012 - I have an indoor ivy that is on a pole. The pole is breaking, and I need to separate the ivy from the pole with the least amount of trauma to the plant. How should I do this? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Ligustrums planted last summer are doing poorly in Houston, TX.
March 06, 2012 - I planted large mature ligustrums trees (~ 8 ft) last summer and the leaves are turning yellow and falling off. Can you please tell me what the cause of this might be and what we can do to prevent th...
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
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center