En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Non-native creeping fig and non-native nutgrass in Carmichael CA

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
1 rating

Monday - September 28, 2009

From: Carmichael, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native creeping fig and non-native nutgrass in Carmichael CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Will creeping fig choke out nut grass?

ANSWER:

No. Nothing will choke out nutgrass, Cyperus rotundus. And planting creeping fig, Ficus pumila, would be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. Nutgrass originated in Africa, Southern Europe and Southern Asia. Creeping fig came from Japan, China and Vietnam. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the care, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown. Therefore, both these invasive, aggressive plants are out of our range of expertise. However, trying to control or prevent the propagation of alien invasive plants is well within our scope. 

First, the nutgrass, sometimes called nutsedge. It spreads from rhizomes that can be as much as 18 inches underground. Herbicides (which we recommend neither for nor against) can do little damage to the plant, because of its very deep rhizomes and the difficulty of getting the herbicide to those tubers that store food for the plant. You could try some of the suggestions from HowToGetRidofStuff.com.

On to creeping fig, Ficus pumila. While it is promoted by commercial nurseries as an evergreen ground cover, the information we found from people who had it in their yards, left by previous owners, is that they hate it. Even with vigorous pruning, it is nearly impossible to contain. It will grow up and over anything it can get to, including trees, which then die from lack of sunlight. It can damage wood sidings or fences with the adhesive in its runners that permits it to climb, and cutting it off at the roots does no good, because it roots itself, and you may find runners coming up 20 feet away. Underneath it all, the nutgrass will still be quietly flourishing. 

You can't do anything but pull out, and keep pulling out, the nutgrass, but you can prevent the problems with the creeping fig by never planting it.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Care for non-native bougainvillea in Blackfoot, ID
June 29, 2009 - Can I plant Bougainvillea in Blackfoot, ID? I would like to plant it but am concerned about the harsh winter killing it off.
view the full question and answer

Non-native Crimson Clover coming up with bluebonnets in Driftwood TX
April 21, 2010 - Is Crimson Clover considered invasive? We have some coming up in our field with our Bluebonnets.
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native St. Augustine grass in Spring TX
July 09, 2009 - St. Augustine. It's July 6th, 3 weeks ago my grass was green and healthy, today I've got large patches (20' x 3') that are dying. I water my yard 10 mins / day in the morning (5:00 am). It's been...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Maytens tree in Saratoga, CA
August 05, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, My friend's Mayten tree (green spray)leaves are yellowing and we don't know if it is under-watered (surrounded by grass and fed with a time sprinkler for 20 min. maybe 2 or ...
view the full question and answer

Indoor non-native palm tree turning yellow from Leavenworth WA
March 22, 2011 - Why are my indoor palm plant leaves turning yellow. It's about 4 feet bought at local Home Depot store, and it was beautiful when I brought it home. It gets plenty of light. I have only had it for ...
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