Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Short native turf grass for Texas lawn
January 31, 2009 - I would like a native grass mix that doesn't get too tall. It is mostly sun with afternoon shade. Mowing wouldn't be a problem, but not necessary. The soil is pretty good but shallow.I hate the ber...
view the full question and answer

How to control Yellow Woodsorrel in Habiturf?
March 19, 2013 - Last year we planted Habiturf in our front lawn and prepared the ground as directed with organic compost. This year we have an infestation of low growing yellow oxalis which we believe came in with t...
view the full question and answer

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

How Can I Replace my Lawn with Natives in Houston, Texas
January 12, 2011 - I want to remove the turf grass from my lawn and put in gravel and sand. I want to put in native and adapted plants that will attract butterflies and I want different native and adapted ornamental g...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a native turf grass for the Houston area
July 25, 2013 - Looking for a native turf grass for the Houston area. In some of your 2012 responses, you stated that "The good news is that research into turf-type grasses native to the coastal region is in the pla...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.