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
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

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

 

 

More Turf Questions

Habiturf for shady areas in San Antonio TX
November 08, 2013 - Will the Habiturf grass mentioned here do well in shady areas too?
view the full question and answer

Turf grass for a sandy site in central Texas
February 16, 2015 - I want to plant grass over an old sand volleyball court in our back yard in Bastrop, Texas. What is the best way to go? Adding top soil and buffalo grass seed or try St. Augustine?
view the full question and answer

Sowing grass for shaded lawn in Texas
February 04, 2008 - I'm renting a home for short period of time, hence I would like to make this as simple, but as beneficial as possible. The backyard soil is degraded and compacted so I would like to try and use a "...
view the full question and answer

Compare Natives to Lawn for Carbon Footprint Benefits in Durham, New Hampshire
September 22, 2010 - Are there carbon sequestration rate tables for turf (lawn) and bushes, shrubs, trees? I want to compare the carbon footprint benefit of lawn versus the same area put into native plantings.
view the full question and answer

Native grass lawn for San Antonio
June 25, 2011 - Dear Mr Smartyplants, I live outside of San Antonio and my question is in regards to putting in a native grass lawn. What type of soil should I put down? I've sprayed herbicide and was planning on ...
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