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

Tuesday - September 14, 2010

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Annual plants for weed control in Pflugerville,TX?
Answered by: Leslie Uppinghouse and Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can you suggest an annual or summer-dormant plant to mix with Dalea frutescens? The object is to discourage the spring-emerging weeds that precede the leafing out of the Dalea, so it should finish blooming and die or go dormant before late spring.

ANSWER:

First, we will have to say that we may not be able to give you the answer you are seeking. There is a good saying that we will use here. " There is no such plant as a weed, just a plant in the wrong place."  The best way to keep a plant from growing in an area is to dig it out. 

Always remove weeds when the soil is moist. It is a lot easier to get all of the plant and root matter out with loose soil.

Pay attention to what type of weed you find when removing. If you find the offending weed is spreading by root runners or rhizomes you will need to make sure that you are removing both plant matter and any underground roots or rhizomes. Once the roots are removed, a watchful eye should catch any new weeds before they have a chance to spread too much underground.

If you find that the roots are shallow and seem to not be spreading underground don't celebrate yet as this more likely is a weed that spreads by frequent seeding. For these you will also want to make sure to get out all of the plant matter and root. With diligent cultivation you should be able to control seedlings that propagated from seed left behind in the ground. Even if you remove the weed before it has a chance to seed (which you should), they will still come back from seeds that have lain dormant in the earth, or transported in by wind, birds and animals. Adding mulch to this process will help as the mulch will keep light from the underground seed, hindering its growth.  

If using mulch be careful that you do not have mulch along the base of the Dalea. Dalea frutescens is a woody shrub that will struggle if the soil or base remains moist. If you use wood mulch double check your mulch to make sure that it is drying out between rains. If not, limit the depth of the mulch as much as you can while still keeping enough to block out the sunlight for the weed seeds below the surface. If it suits the look of your garden you might want to consider using a layer of decomposed granite as a mulch instead of wood.

If you still are looking for annuals to add to the space take a look at Sally and Andy Wasowski's book Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region. Chapter four is titled Annuals, Biennials, and Short-Lived Perennials.

Bulbs in that area might also be a nice option as a companion for the Dalea. Scott Ogden's book Garden Bulbs for the South might give you some ideas. For both books, see Bibliography below.

 


Dalea frutescens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

How to keep plants alive in a pot beside a patio waterfall.
May 13, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a waterfall on my patio and I can't keep my plants alive in the flower pot next to waterfall. Is that beacuse of algae produced by waterfall? If so, can you please recomme...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control in West Union IA
June 22, 2010 - Erosion control and native grasses/plants for steep, shady slope in northeast Iowa. We are building a house in northeast Iowa (near West Union in Fayette County). The road that was graded to the ho...
view the full question and answer

Is purple coneflower native to Colorado?
July 20, 2009 - I have seen the purple cone flower growing wild in Gunnison National Forest in Colorado. Is it a native to that state or has it been brought in?
view the full question and answer

Wildflower Meadow for Poth, TX
January 22, 2014 - I recently cleared some underbrush from a virgin pasture, with large oaks and mesquites scattered through it, and was wondering if it was too late to plant wildflowers? If not, what varieties of wildf...
view the full question and answer

Salvia farinacea and rust fungus from Kerrville TX
February 22, 2014 - Are Henry Duelberg salvias (Salvia farinacea)susceptible to rust fungus?
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