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

Sunday - June 13, 2010

From: Vienna, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Removing nut grass and wild strawberry in Vienna VA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Pants, How do I get rid of wild strawberry plants and nut grass in my large garden bed? I have rosemary and thyme already there and don't want to use a harmful pesticide (kids and pets as well).

ANSWER:

You aren't going to like this, but in both cases simply pulling it out again and again and again is the time-honored method. An organic approach, which we have never tried, is found in Gardens Alive Is Nutgrass Driving You Nuts? The problem, even with very intense organic or chemical pesticides, is that the rhizomes, deep underground, will hold nourishment for the plant for a very long time, usually permitting it to overcome attempts to do it in. If you pull off the leaves of a plant long enough, the roots will finally starve, because there are no leaves making food for the whole plant through photosynthesis.  If your ground is soft, there is no greater satisfaction than pulling out a long string of those tubers and destroying them. Unfortunately, there are always more a few feet away, and they will quickly grow into the vacated space. Cyperus rotundus is native to Africa, south central Europe and southern Asia. If we could deport it, we would. 

Pictures of Cyperus rotundus from Google

From our webpage on  Fragaria virginiana (Virginia strawberry):

"Virginia strawberry or wild strawberry is a ground-hugging plant rising from a fibrous, perennial root system. Hairy leaf petioles, up to 6 in. long, each bear a single trifoliate leaf. The hairy flower stalk gives rise to a loose cluster of small, five-petaled flowers followed by tasty, wild strawberries."

This means you have a similar problem to the nutgrass, in that the underground roots are perennial, and will live in the soil to send fresh new plants up. From Illinois Wildflowers, we learned that it is  considered a food plant, as well as a host to butterflies and other wildlife. No one seems too interested in getting rid of it. When you read about it, you realize it is much the same situation as the nutgrass, spreading by stolons and rhizomes. However, it apparently goes dormant in warm weather; that might be a good time to launch an attack. Or try making strawberry jam.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Fragaria virginiana

Fragaria virginiana

Fragaria virginiana

 

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Non-native, and/or invasive bermudagrass, St. Augustine and Pistache from Houston
September 24, 2012 - Our St. Augustine lawn died suddenly this summer from either chinch bugs or grub worms (or both?), and a multitude of weeds and native Bermuda have taken over the area. Now that the weather has cooled...
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of bermudagrass
July 13, 2010 - How do I get rid of bermuda grass in my San Augustine grass?
view the full question and answer

Native plants for shade in Ennis TX
August 26, 2011 - My house faces south. The southwest side of the front yard has a Pride of Houston, Japanese Barberry, 2 crape myrtles and some dwarf yaupon hollies. The other section, divided by a stairway to the p...
view the full question and answer

Identification of yellow flowers in Wisconsin
June 19, 2012 - We have plants near Madison, Wisconsin that some call lanceleaf coreoposis however I believe they are some type of invasive species. They have yellow flowers, seem to spread by seed. and don't grown ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen replacement for bamboo in Redding CA
July 27, 2009 - We have just removed bamboo from our backyard and need to replace it with a plant that will give us the same type of privacy. What plant would you suggest to plant along a fence line that will surviv...
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