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

Nativity of various bulbs
October 15, 2014 - Are the following bulbs native? Chionodoxa forbesii Camassia leichflinii Crocus Sprint tommasinianus Barr's Purple Hyacinthoides hispanica Narcissus 'Actea' Scilla siberica 'Spring Beauty' ...
view the full question and answer

Chinaberry trees coming up volunteer
October 14, 2007 - I have several chinaberry trees that have sprouted after my neighbor trimmed his tree. I have cut these trees down to the ground a couple of times, but they just send out new shoots. Any idea on how...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of tall stalk with many thorns
April 17, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants: After we raked all the leaves, I found three or four plants on my property that are thin tall stalks with many thorns. Leaves are just growing, so I cannot describe them. ...
view the full question and answer

Invasive plants in native plant area from Austin
May 15, 2012 - Why do invasive plants grow in native plant territory?
view the full question and answer

Non-native, invasive Asiatic Jasmine from Austin
October 25, 2012 - Is Trachelospermum asiaticum considered a native texas plant? Is there an example growing at the Center that can be viewed?
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