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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - April 16, 2011

From: Clint, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Eliminating non-native grasses growiing in non-native alfalfa in Clint, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have six acres of alfalfa in Clint, Tx which was planted three years ago. After taking it to Jaime Iglesias PhD, CEA-Agriculture Texas Agrilife Extension El Paso County; he responded: Mr. Zuniga: "I reviewed the Pursuit Label and does not include Bromus genus in the type of grasses to control. Your grasses were identified as Rescue Grass (Bromus catharticus) and Japanese brome (Bromus japonicus)." How can I get rid of these 2 weeds in my field?

ANSWER:

You have already talked to the very authority we would have referred you to, a specialist at your County Extension Office. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which those plants are being grown. Bromus catharticus is native to South America and Bromus japonicus to Europe; therefore, both fall out of our area of expertise. These are both members of the Poaceae family, which is a monocot (narrow leaved). Medicago sativo, alfalfa is native to Africa, Asia and Europe. It is a member of the Fabaceae family, and therefore would be a dicot, or broad-leaved plant. Theoretically, you could spray a herbicide for monocots and kill the Bromes, while sparing the dicots, or alfalfa. This is something we absolutely do not recommend. You could do serious damage to your entire ecosystem; you have no way of knowing what other monocots or grasses out there are totally essential to some of the pollinators, birds and herbivores. If you have some reason to feel it absolutely necessary to get rid of the Bromes, mow them before they can seed, pull them out as they come up or learn to live with them. Since everything you have is non-native, we really can make no case either way.

 

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