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?

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
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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - July 01, 2010

From: West Columbia, , SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Ways to eliminate non-native bermuda grass from West Columbia SC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Could you kill bermuda grass by heavy over-fertilizing it? Or black, solid plastic cloth? Thanks

ANSWER:

Cynadon dactylon, bermudagrass. Guess what? We don't like it, either. It is native to Africa (not Bermuda) and has become one of the most invasive weeds in the South. See this University of California  Integrated Pest Management article on how to get rid of it.

We wouldn't recommend over-fertilizing anything. It's chancy whether it will cause the plant to "grow itself to death" which we have heard of, too. And the excess fertilizer will be right there available to wash off into the street and straight to your rivers and water supply. On the subject of excluding the light from the plants by  black plastic, here is a quotation from the article above:

"Mulches of black plastic or geotextile landscape fabric can also be effective over large areas if light is excluded."

Whatever you do, remember it will not be quick and easy. The reason bermudagrass is so invasive is that it can spread above and below ground, via stolons (aboveground) and rhizomes (belowground). You don't just do it with one operation, because still unsprouted seeds are likely still in there, as well as the rhizomes, which can hold nutrients for the grass to rise again long after you thought the top part was dead. 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Trees for shade in Austin
May 20, 2012 - I live in Austin and I am looking for a good tree to plant under a large live oak I have in my backyard. Something slow-growing of course and, the garden only gets late day sun for about an hour. Filt...
view the full question and answer

Lilac bush roots dangerous to house foundations
August 06, 2008 - Are lilac bushes dangerous to the foundation of a house? There is a lovely white-blooming lilac that grows against the house outside my bedroom window. My ex-husband said that the roots would destro...
view the full question and answer

What is hollowing out my rosebuds in Austin, TX?
April 28, 2012 - I recently noticed some of my rose buds had been hollowed out from the inside. I have seen no evidence of insect though. What do you think it is and how can I treat the problem?
view the full question and answer

Care for non-native Mexican ruellia in Monroe LA
October 27, 2009 - Dwarf Mexican Petunia I have found information that late in the season, when growth becomes leggy, cut back plants by as much as a half to force a new spurt of growth. Watch for tobacco bud wo...
view the full question and answer

Identification of Cryptomeria japonica for homeowners association
May 09, 2007 - Good morning. We are wondering if Cryptomeria japonica trees can fit under the term "pine like". We used the term pine like when asking for our home owners associations approval and we put in a Cr...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center