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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.

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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.

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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!

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Wednesday - November 25, 2009

From: Kyle, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Turf
Title: Need help with an invasive ground cover type plant filling in damaged areas in lawn.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Since the drought this summer, there is an invasive ground cover type plant filling in the damaged areas in my lawn . It is dark greenish/purplish very small clover type plant, difficult to pull up and breaks off close to the ground. It's spreading like wild fire. Do you have any suggestions? I live 20 minutes south of Austin, Texas.

ANSWER:

It is generally difficult, if not impossible, to identify a plant from a written description, but you have given a clue that makes Mr. Smarty Plants think you may be talking about a plant in the genus Oxalis. Compare the images on this page for Oxalis with the plant in your yard. You didn't mention flowers, but if the plant is flowering, it it much easier to identify. If the images on the NPIN page don't match your plant, go to the Plant Identification page and follow the directions for sending us some photos.

Oxalis is a broad-leaf weed, and there are herbicides that can control it. We generally don't recommend their use, but we don't condemn their use either. We just ask that you use them carefully, and strictly follow the directions on the label. 

You didn't mention the kind of lawn, the type of damage, or the size of the damaged area. Mechanical removal, ie. pulling, can be an effective means of getting rid of the pest if the area isn't too large. As your lawn recovers, the grasss could choke out the invader, so you might just leave it alone and see what the grass does.


Oxalis stricta

 

 

 

 

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