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

Friday - August 28, 2009

From: Oswego, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Eliminating smartweed from pasture in Oswego NY
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How do I get rid of smartweed in my pasture?

ANSWER:

About 75 species of of plants with "smartweed" in their common names occur in North America. They are mainly identified by their spikes of numerous flowers and encircling leaf sheaths. Both are found in gardens as well as in damp waste places. The seeds of these plants are eaten by songbirds and waterfowl. There are also climbing species of smartweeds. Twenty two members of the Polygonum genus are native to New York, and 12 species with the common name "smartweed" are native to New York. We have selected 3 of these, assuming their management is pretty similar, and will see what we can find out.  In addition (once again, the curse of the common name) there is a dodder, a parasitic plant, that goes by the same common name. Here are the four native plants in our Native Plant Database that we are going to research further; perhaps by following the plant links to the webpage on each plant and by looking at pictures you can determine which one (or more) is causing you the problem. 

Polygonum pensylvanicum (Pennsylvania smartweed) - Polygonaceae (Buckwheat family)

Polygonum erectum (erect knotweed) - Polygonaceae (Buckwheat family) pictures

Polygonum lapathifolium (curlytop knotweed) - Polygonaceae (Buckwheat family)

Cuscuta polygonorum (smartweed dodder) - Cuscutacea (Dodder family) More information on this plant from the Purdue Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory

The first thing we learned is that these are all basically moist soil plants, some are very nearly aquatic plants. One of the suggestons for control was to improve the drainage in the area where they were growing. On the polygonums, since they are mostly annuals, a frequent suggestion was that of clear cutting or pulling while the plants are in early bloom. If you can break the seeding cycle, that will help. However, we also saw research saying the seed of this genus can survive in the soil and remain viable for many years.

Your best resource for help on weedy matters is much closer to home than we are. Contact the Cornell University Cooperative Extension Office for Oswego County. You can bet that if you are having problems with this plant, lots of others in your area are, too, and the people in extension offices are trained to work on that kind of problem.

 


Polygonum pensylvanicum

Polygonum lapathifolium

Cuscuta polygonorum

 


 

 

 

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Eliminating bindweed in Eugene OR
June 04, 2010 - Any ideas on the best non-chemical way to get rid of bindweed in the Eugene, Oregon area? In addition to any other ideas you can suggest, are there any groundcovers that would do the job and be non-i...
view the full question and answer

How to get rid of devils club (Oplopanax horridus)
November 22, 2007 - please tell me how to get rid of devils club!!!
view the full question and answer

Most invasive, noxious plant in U.S. from New York City.
November 26, 2012 - I was wondering, what is the most invasive/ noxious plant in the U.S? Thanks in advance.
view the full question and answer

Distinguishing native Celastrus scandens from non-native C. Orbiculatus from Lexington MA
June 08, 2014 - Dear Mr. Plants, I maintain a wildflower garden with the Lexington Field and Garden Club in Lexington, Massachusetts. Every year, I pull up sprouts of Celastris orbiulatis. I want to plan...
view the full question and answer

Use of kudzu in landscaping
April 11, 2008 - HELLO MR.SMARTY PlANTS,my question is , I need a # of kudzu plants to grow quickly for a huge bare back wall since we are selling our house & have zero anything back there.we are getting comments that...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center