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 Pests Questions

Oaks emitting substance in Lakeway TX
August 14, 2012 - We have two large oak trees in our yard that are emitting a clear, very sticky, non-fragrant substance. The leaves are beginning to be covered as is our deck. Bees are now attracted and I am worried ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with mountain laurel from Sunrise Beach TX
August 29, 2012 - In Llano Co., TX near lake LBJ, crushed granite type soil - my 4 - 5 year old TX Mtn. Laurels (2), about the size of large wheel barrows, are turning very pale, dropping leaves and on 1 the seed pods ...
view the full question and answer

Invasive native blackeyed susans from Warren OH
August 07, 2013 - In our demo garden we master gardeners in NE Ohio have been unable to get rid of black-eyed susans which have, like the other person, prevented or "killed" the other perennial plants. They are spre...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping for slope in Kansas City
October 08, 2008 - We have a down sloping back yard and patio on the lower area. We need some water absorbing plants near the foundation and some in the front of the house, where water isn't a problem. We are allergic ...
view the full question and answer

Possible freeze damage in Wax Myrtle from last winter in Bastrop, TX
July 25, 2011 - Our Wax Myrtle is about 7 yrs old and in good shape until this past winter when we had several very hard freezes. Now several of the large branches are dead and more are dying each month. We have not ...
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