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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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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!

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Tuesday - June 06, 2006

From: Belton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Problem Plants, Turf
Title: Elimination of non-native, invasive King Ranch bluestem in lawn
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

How can I eliminate an annual infestation of king ranch bluestem in my bermuda lawn? Thanks.

ANSWER:

This is not going to be easy since King Ranch, or Plains, Bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum) is a perennial and herbicides that are effective on it would also kill your bermudagrass. A study done in Williamson County, Texas, KR Bluestem Management in Bermudagrass Pastures, concluded that present herbicide formulations are not going to do the job. However, tilling the fields damaged the crowns of the KR but did not significantly harm the bermudagrass. You may not want to till your lawn to the extent that would result in damaging the KR bluestem. Your best bet may be to dig it out by hand. This is not a fast solution, nor an easy one. It may take several years to get it under control, but it may be your only choice.

 

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