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
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

Use of non-native pothos for outside wall from Las Vegas NV
January 05, 2014 - I am in Las Vegas, NV. I live in a cottage-style apartment so I have a north facing porch with no one on the west so I get some there (and have an inherited cactus probably a yard all round) I would ...
view the full question and answer

Clover in grass in Marysville WA
March 05, 2009 - I noticed clover growing in my grass and know that this is a sign of poor nitrogen in my soil. I would like to know of some native plants / shrubs that I could put near my house in Washington that ...
view the full question and answer

Overwintering Cardinal Flower in Thornwood NY
October 01, 2009 - I have 6 Cardinal Flower plants in planters. They have mulch on top to keep them moist. Can they stay in the planters all winter? Do I cut the stalks before winter comes or leave as is?
view the full question and answer

Erosion control in West Union IA
June 22, 2010 - Erosion control and native grasses/plants for steep, shady slope in northeast Iowa. We are building a house in northeast Iowa (near West Union in Fayette County). The road that was graded to the ho...
view the full question and answer

Watering for Scarlett Milkweed in Florida
October 18, 2008 - I have a Scarlett Milkweed and it was doing very well until this last week. It now has yellow leaves that are falling off and no flowers. It says on the tag that the water is low once it is establishe...
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