Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - July 04, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Trees
Title: Removing yaupon hollies from yard in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We recently moved into a home w/ way too many and much too large (20-30') yaupon holly's in the back yard. I had some of them cut down, but they keep coming up from the roots of the old trees. How do I get rid of them?

ANSWER:

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon), while a sturdy Texas native, can also get to be a pain when it is big and takes over an area. There are two alternatives to consider: Dig out the roots very thoroughly or go the cut and paint route. The second alternative involves slicing the top of the main root off very close to the soil. Using a disposal paintbrush, paint the cut surface with a wide spectrum herbicide. Do this very quickly, within 5 minutes of cutting, as the root will immediately begin to heal over in order to protect itself. The herbicide should get into the root system and begin to kill it and discourage the production of suckers. However, the primary objective of any plant is to survive, and whatever vestiges of root are left alive will continue to try to sprout, forming what are basically new branches to bear leaves and, through the process of photosynthesis, produce nutrition for the tree. 

After employing either (or both) methods, continue to pull out the suckers as quickly as they appear. Eventually, one way or another, the roots will starve to death and die. Be very careful with the herbicide, don't spill it on the ground or try to spray it. You can easily contaminate the soil or harm another, more desirable plant.

 

From the Image Gallery


Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

More Pests Questions

Plants that animals won't eat from Ione WA
April 19, 2013 - In Ione Washington and need to know what types of plants and flowers I can plant that animals in that area wont eat?
view the full question and answer

Avoiding insect bites while gardening in Kansas
December 03, 2015 - I recently moved into Mission, Kansas(Johnson County). Every time I go do any yard work I get a couple of insect bite looking spots on body. They are somewhat painful and very itchy. One of them got i...
view the full question and answer

When should cochineal bugs be on prickly pear cactus?
January 05, 2012 - I am a fibers artist that would like to harvest the cochineal bugs from the prickly pear cactus. I would like to know what time of year should I expect to find the cochineal bugs around the Austin ar...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Arizona Ash from Naco AZ
May 19, 2013 - Hi Mr. Smarty.. Live in southeast corner of Az. My Az. Ash is diseased. Just noticed leaves are curled, (still green) and when I open the leaf it has a zillion little white, what look like mites ...
view the full question and answer

Possible disease on Eastern Redbud
October 06, 2007 - Our Eastern Redbud appears to be suffering from our recent drought. The leaves are turning brown in July/August on a few branches. A few black spots appear on the leaves before they turn brown. Ot...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.