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
1 rating

Sunday - December 18, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Select Region
Topic: Invasive Plants, Groundcovers, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Destruction of Straggler Daisy in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I hate Straggler Daisy. Not to be offensive, but it appears from other posts on this site that you, Mr. Smarty Plants, and many others would like to treat it as a protected species. It is taking over my entire property, disregarding my efforts to eradicate it. I am not a natural gardening purist. I will kill the stuff with whatever works, but I've not found anything that works. I applied a heavy application of Roundup. Afterwards it looked a little whimpy, but then recovered. It went through the inferno of last summer (2011) in Austin, TX, and I never watered it - yet it didn't die along with the rest of my lawn. Now that the weather is cooler and wetter in December 2011 the stuff is making a huge resurgence, absolutely taking over my entire property with an army of little tiny Stragglers. Please tell us what toxic mix is required to kill this stuff, Oh Mister Smarty Plants. Respectfully, Straggler Hater.

ANSWER:

We're not offended, we understand what a pain something invasive can be. We hope you also will not be offended when we point out that you have spent a lot of money and a lot of time, and probably killed a lot of other plants you wanted to keep in your chemical war with Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy). And the result of this time, money and destruction effort? Lots of Straggler Daisy. Mr. Smarty Plants is not crazy about any poisonous chemical intervention in nature. When it rained last week, any runoff from your yard was probably tainted with the herbicide, and ran off on other plants, and then down through the Edwards Aquifer into our drinking water. Even if we knew of anything more toxic, we wouldn't suggest it. Please follow the plant link to the full page in our database on this plant. It sounds like a plant well suited to our environment, attracts butterflies, consumes carbon dioxide and produces oxygen in photosynthesis, is a nice semi-evergreen ground cover that flowers from March through November, has low water use, and tolerates sun, part shade or shade. We are certainly not advocating making it a protected species-it doesn't seem to need protection. We think the most telling statement you made was that in the heat and drought of Summer 2011 the Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy) marched on and your grass died.

Remembering that it has been estimated that about 40% of Austin's drinkable water goes onto lawns, we think you have lucked into a bonanza. You could eventually get rid of it by pulling it out and keeping it mowed very low to prevent seed distribution, but there would always be more coming from other places in your area. Our advice: if you can't lick it, join it.

 

From the Image Gallery


Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

More Groundcovers Questions

Finding a manzanita species suitable for Fort Worth, TX
April 28, 2015 - Which manzanita shrub would thrive best in the Fort Worth, Tx. area? I was thinking of planting it in a large pot. Thank You!
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for sun in Phenix City, AL
April 04, 2011 - I live in Phenix City, AL and am new to planting. I have a 60 x 15 feet slope that is just dirt. I am going to till it next week and want to plant some various ground cover plants (that will grow to c...
view the full question and answer

Plantings for a slope from New Carrollton MD
June 27, 2012 - My house (Maryland, near DC) sits at the bottom of a south facing slope. The soil is very heavy clay. The grade is about 1:20 for about 100 feet (with a steeper part at the top). Part of the hill is i...
view the full question and answer

Low growing, flowering evergreen plants for Pflugerville TX
March 30, 2010 - I am wondering if you can suggest some low growing, flowering evergreen plants for my garden.
view the full question and answer

Evergreen for sunny, dry area under a maple in Connecticut
October 10, 2015 - I have a sloped, very sunny, dry area under a maple. I was wondering if Sweet Fern would be a likely candidate for this area. I would like it to be evergreen and to be able to survive under mounds of...
view the full question and answer

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