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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - March 16, 2011

From: Bayou Vista, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: How to Get Rid of Spike Rush in Raised Beds in Galveston
Answered by: Marilyn Kircus

QUESTION:

I have an infestation of spike rush in my raised beds and I want to know how to get rid of it, preferably without killing the insects. I have tried digging it up, but it returns. I live on Galveston Bay, but I don't see it in my lawn grass or the surrounding wetlands. Please advise. Thank you.

ANSWER:

You probably have either  Eleocharis montevidensis (Sand spikerush) or  Eleocharis parvula (Dwarf spikerush). Both grow locally, but usually in marshes where they like to be wet in the winter but dry in the summer. Sand spikerush can withstand grazing, mowing, and drought. It is controlled in large areas by flooding for extended periods. Dwarf spikerush is also sold as a garden plant.

Since it is growing from tubers, and can also grow back from seeds in the soil, you will probably have to remove all the other plants and then dig all the tubers or even remove all the soil. Wait to see it there are tubers still sprouting from deeper in the ground, then replace your bed with new soil before replacing your plants.  (In the meantime, you would have to put them in pots and be sure you don't have the spikerush mixed in with the roots.) Then be vigilent in monitoring for new seedlings and get them out before they make tubers.

Texas A&M Agri-Service has a brochure on controlling spikerush with chemicals.  But they are treating it in a pond environment. You might be able to paint the proper dilution of contact poison on JUST the stems of the spikerush and thus kill it without exposing any other plants to the chemical. 

Good luck.  This sounds like it will be like removing nut-grass but hopefully the tubers will be large enough to find all of them easier than finding all the nuts of nut-grass is.


Eleocharis montevidensis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Removing three-seeded mercury in Austin
November 09, 2009 - How can I get rid of Three Seeded Mercury (Acalypha phleoides)? Even if I try to dig it up, the roots go down forever and it ends up just breaking at 6-8" down. Just breaking it off at the surface,...
view the full question and answer

Mexican feathergrass from Pflugerville, TX
January 23, 2013 - How deep are the roots of Nassella tenuissima? I'm looking for something that could possibly discourage my neighbors' bermuda grass from encroaching into my native plantings.
view the full question and answer

Understory planting in Virginia
July 03, 2009 - We have some 10 mature tulip and sycamore trees in our No. VA property. The previous home owners were fond of English Ivy and Japanese pachysandra. We are working hard at replacing these invasives to ...
view the full question and answer

Is Jerusalem thorn native to Central Texas?
July 17, 2009 - I was reading about Retama (Parkinsonia aculeata) which is native to South America and naturalized throughout Texas and the southern US. I also read that it is considered an invasive plant species in...
view the full question and answer

Invasive plants in native plant area from Austin
May 15, 2012 - Why do invasive plants grow in native plant territory?
view the full question and answer

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