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 Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Removing St. Augustine for natives in Grapevine TX
September 29, 2012 - We have St Augustine in our yard and we hate it. It guzzles water, we have to cut it often, and it's thick and hard to work with. Anyway, we want to replace it with a combination of some kind of g...
view the full question and answer

Limiting erosion around pond from Brooklyn Park MN
May 20, 2013 - Minnesota resident, wants to find plant limit erosion from pond?
view the full question and answer

Native Plants for Year Round Interest
February 16, 2015 - I'm involved in a paradigm shift from traditional bedding plants (petunias, zinnias, begonias, etc.) to native plants. I realize that native plants have natural life cycles where they look pretty bad...
view the full question and answer

Buffalo grass and other native grass for lawn in Central Texas
March 17, 2008 - Hi, I live in Cedar Park, TX - recently moved to into a newly built house. I wanted to put some native grass (like buffalo) in the back yard. - My back yard has slope (away from house) and front...
view the full question and answer

Native Plants for Shaded North Slope in Ohio
January 03, 2013 - I have a shaded north hillside which needs erosion control plants. Mostly moss and very thin grass grows there now. Please help!
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