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?


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
1 rating

Tuesday - June 22, 2010

From: Utopia, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Turf, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Grassburs in native lawn in Utopia TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I recently planted native Texas grass (Buffalograss, blue grama & curly mesquite) at my new house in the hill country. I had to bring in all the top soil. The grass is doing great, but in one area of the new dirt, there are grass burs coming up. Is there anything I can do to kill off the grass burs without killing the new native Texas grasses? Thanks


Pull them out. All our information about the native grasses warns that they must be protected from weeds until they can spread into a solid mat. This Aggie Horticulture site on the Controlling Field Sandbur (Grassbur) in Turfgrass gives you lots of details on chemical controls, but that is pretty impractical when you have the weed mixed in with the grass. The burrs, or seeds, of this plant probably came in with the topsoil. Cenchrus spinifex (coastal sandbur), while native, is also invasive and unwanted. You must get it out before it begins to set seed, that is, the burrs, and dispose of it in such a way that the seeds will not find their way back into the soil. Unfortunately, there is always going to be an ample seed supply of this plant around, and it can be transported right back into your lawn by wind or animals, so it's a never-ending battle. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Cenchrus spinifex

Cenchrus spinifex

Cenchrus spinifex

Cenchrus spinifex



More Invasive Plants Questions

Elimination of nutgrass from native flower bed
October 14, 2007 - Nutgrass!*#!* My new bed in NE Austin wraps around a hot sunny SW street corner. Grass wouldn't grow there [I wouldn't water it.] I removed the turf [mostly stickers] to a depth of about 4", carefu...
view the full question and answer

Invasive Cissus trifoliata in Dallas
May 25, 2011 - I have finally identified an invasive, stinky vine in my urban landscape as Cissus trifoliata. It was waxy leaves, small greenish flowers, and small black berries. It appears to spread with undergrou...
view the full question and answer

Root barriers for invasive plant roots from neighbor in Austin
July 24, 2011 - My neighbor's invasive plantings are invading my yard. He has Chinese parasol, China berry, Japanese honeysuckle, privets, ligustrums and native Mustang grape vines planted so closely together they ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Tradescantia spathacea in Austin
July 10, 2011 - Can a moses in the cradle (Tradescantia spathacea) plant be planted in a landscape setting with part sun of up to six hours in this texas heat?
view the full question and answer

Invasive silverleaf nightshade in Plainwell MI
June 27, 2010 - Solanum elaeagnifolium Cav. Silverleaf nightshade, Silver-leaf nightshade, White horse nettle. We purchased our land and built here 3 years ago. I have these all over my 30 acres of land including ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center