En Español

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

Sunday - May 29, 2011

From: Richland, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Pests, Seasonal Tasks, Shrubs
Title: Preventing weeds in kinnikinnick in Richland WA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We planted our kinnickinick last Nov. and we live in Richland, WA, where it gets hot in the summer. We planted almost 500 of them on a hillside. Weeding is taking over our lives, to say the least. Do you recommend putting mulch down? We're afraid it will blow away. The product "Amaze" doesn't seem to be working very well. Also, how often should we be watering? This is the first summer they have been planted. Thanks so much

ANSWER:

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick) is one of our favorite plants, if only for the name, because it really won't grow down here in Texas. We do have to say that, even on lawn grasses or other ground cover, the first year or so, at least, is going to be consumed in pulling weeds. We always warn people who have put down new lawns or ground covers that no matter if they are native there, or well-adapted, the weeds are going to come in and revel in that new ground, which has no doubt been disturbed seriously in preparing for that planting. Weeds loooove disturbed ground.

According to this USDA Plant Profile, this plant grows natively in the next county over from Benton County in the southeast portion of Washington on the border with Oregon. We don't feel that it is out of place or in the wrong soil or climate,

We are not very familiar with  Pre-emergent herbicides but we found this article explaining what they are and their uses. We thought this phrase was significant:

"Pre-emergent herbicides are generally used as a last resort, when more sensible means of controlling weeds have not been employed or have not worked well. Those of you with a weed-infested lot adjacent to your property might have no option but to use these products."

The same article discussed Amaze and referred to time of application as:

"Under most conditions, mid-February and mid-September."

The weeds you are struggling with are no doubt seeding out now, and may, indeed come up again before Fall. However, if you keep after them this year, then application of the pre-emergent herbicide in mid-September should be more beneficial.

In terms of using mulch, we always like mulch on bare ground. It will shade out the seedlings of the weeds that try to come up, and thus repress a lot of weeds. If you put down a 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch, it will help cool the soil, and also protect the roots of your plants in the Winter. Furthermore, if it is not raining, you probably should be watering your Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick), and that water will also help hold the mulch in place, and the mulch will hold the moisture in the soil. Actually, kinnikinnick is low water user, and withstands drought very well, but any plant needs supplementary watering if the rains are inconsistent in the first year that plant is in the ground.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

 

 

 

 

 


 

More Seasonal Tasks Questions

Protection for plants against a Spring freeze from Easley SC
April 15, 2014 - Is there anything we can do to protect our beautiful spring gardens from the freeze tonight? (April 15, 2014)
view the full question and answer

Overwintering Texas bluebonnets
November 17, 2011 - I planted Texas Bluebonnet and I want to know how to save them through the winter months. I think they are so beautiful. Can I cover them with something?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a redbud in Virginia Beach VA
April 21, 2010 - I have a 5-6 ft. Redbud Tree and like to dig up and move to different spot in my backyard. How/what is the proper way to do it without killing the tree?
view the full question and answer

Wintering of non- native jasmine in Newton KS
September 18, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I received a gorgeous jasmine for mothers day and I planted it in my front yard in the flower area close to the house. Can I keep it there all winter or do I need to dig it up a...
view the full question and answer

Time to cut back Turk's Cap in Austin
January 27, 2011 - I did not find my question answered in the database. My question is: When is the best time to cut back Red Turks Cap? I live in Central Austin.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center