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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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Saturday - December 31, 2011

From: Collegeville, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Groundcovers, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Non-native invasive chickweed in Collegeville PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My problem is chickweed. I have found considerable information on how to eliminate the chickweed. My question is after following a suggested elimination process: How and when do I reseed with grass?

ANSWER:

There are two plants referred to by the common name "chickweed:" Stellaria media, common chickweed, and Cerastium glomeratum, sticky chickweed. This website from the University of California Integrated Pest Management on Chickweed will give you more information on the habits of the plant as well as means of control. The species are quite similar and both are native to Eurasia; therefore, they will not appear in our Native Plant Database. Although the plant is non-native, it nevertheless grows in every state in North America, as well as most of the Canadian provinces as you can see from this USDA Plant Profile Map.

As best as we were able to understand, it does its major growing in early Spring, and that is the most effective time to be weeding it out of the ground. We are assuming you are referring to planting lawn grasses which, when mature, should be taller than the approximately 4" height of the chickweed, and can therefore shade out the invasive weed. We are unfamiliar with the lawn grasses in Pennsylvania and would suggest you contact the Penn State Extension Office for Montgomery County. They should have information either online or in printed form on lawn grasses for your area, including when and how they should be planted.

 

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