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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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

QUESTION:

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

ANSWER:

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

 

 

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