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
2 ratings

Wednesday - April 07, 2010

From: Dripping Springs, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: How to deal with wild verbena.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hello. I have a great 9 acres of black dirt in Dripping Springs! However now that I have cleared cedar, and then w/the great rains came...I am being taken over by wild verbena. (purple)..looks like wild verbena. I have always heard it called that. Any suggestions other than hand pulling?

ANSWER:

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Dakota mock vervain) or Prairie verbena is the plant to which you're referring.  Prairie verbena loves disturbed soil!  One of the more noticeable side-effects of clearing cedar (Juniperus ashei (Ashe's juniper)) is soil disturbance which results in drastic changes in flora composition.  Prairie verbena can be seen in great abundance on many pieces of land in the area right now for just that reason.

The best course of action may be no action at all.  Last year, a large, newly-cleared area near Driftwood, Texas was awash in Prairie verbena.  This year, it has all but disappeared as other, more competitive plant species have taken hold there and are pushing it out.

Prairie verbena serves a vital role in habitat restoration often performed by less desirable, more pernicious non-native plant species of holding newly disturbed soil until more permanent species can take hold and become established.  You can think of Prairie verbena as a salve that protects the wounded earth and wears away over time as healing takes place.

If you absolutely have to rid the land of Prairie verbena, hand-pulling is going to be the approach.  Other methods simply disturb the soil even more and slow down the process of regeneration that needs to take place.

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Plants for hanging flower boxes from Austin
July 27, 2013 - I have two long flower boxes 17" x 15" x 25 feet long one on the north side of the apt and one on the south made of metal suspended about four feet from the ground. One will get the morning sun and ...
view the full question and answer

Annual for poor drainage area in Temple TX
October 08, 2009 - What annual would you recommend for a bed with poor drainage for summer color ?
view the full question and answer

Companion plants for irises
April 22, 2007 - Hello...what do you suggest as a companion plant for irises? I live in the Texas Hill Country. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Drought-tolerant plants for landscaping
November 13, 2007 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Our HOA is wanting to change the landscaping to Drought-tolerant plants and flowers. The area is Grayson County, south of Sherman Texas. What plants and flowers would you su...
view the full question and answer

Perennial ground cover for hillside in Holmdel NJ
April 25, 2014 - I live in NJ. I would like to use a perennial ground cover for my landscaping bed on a hill with full sun and deer resistant. It's a good size landscaping bed that is facing east (southeast). What...
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