En Español

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 Trees Questions

Distance from existing oak trees to place paving
December 16, 2008 - We are designing an expansion for an existing veterinary office and the desired side for expansion will require addition to the parking and drive aisle to the back side of the property. My question i...
view the full question and answer

Rocky Stream Bank Plants for Dallas, TX
July 02, 2015 - Need live stake shrubbery or tree ideas for a rocky stream bank prone to high water. Thank you
view the full question and answer

Distressed Red Oak tree in Pflugerville, TX.
July 22, 2012 - I have a large (40 ft) Red Oak tree in my yard that is distressed. It started with yellowing leaves, with darker veins. Then small brown spots appeared, followed by browning arount the leaves edges. N...
view the full question and answer

Wild Texas olive trees in Chappell Hill TX
July 17, 2009 - Are wild texas olive trees male and female? Mine is evergreen with no olives. I would like to have another that is evergreen and has no fruit but all I find are deciduous and have fruit.
view the full question and answer

Privacy Hedge Suggestions for Tampa, Florida
May 15, 2014 - My back wall is made of stone and is about 6' high. We are very close to a busy road. I need a plant that will reach about 7-8 feet high or a hedge to reduce some of the noise. What plant/hedge would...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center