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

Eliminating gift plant from flowerbed
June 20, 2010 - A neighbor gave me cuttings of a lush green plant with a blue flower with a yellow center that is only open in morning. It has become very invasive. I cut it back and dug at least 6-12" deep to get t...
view the full question and answer

Care for non-native bougainvillea in Blackfoot, ID
June 29, 2009 - Can I plant Bougainvillea in Blackfoot, ID? I would like to plant it but am concerned about the harsh winter killing it off.
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnets for Shanghai
June 25, 2012 - I am a Texas native that now lives in Shanghai, and I am trying to grow a little piece of home (Texas bluebonnets) indoors, and I was wondering: a. Do you have any ideal soil recipes that bluebonne...
view the full question and answer

Crape myrtle in Austin
August 01, 2012 - Please don't bother to answer my question about how to treat a crepe myrtle with sticky stuff falling from it. I just found the answer on your site. Good site, by the way.
view the full question and answer

Slow growing, non-native Viburnum sandanqua in Deland FL
April 05, 2010 - Hi. I live in central FL, and planted sandankwa viburnum as a hedge 3 years ago. I was told they would grow quickly, but they are growing very slowly, although they look healthy with deep green leaves...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center