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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

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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Thursday - March 08, 2012

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Seasonal Tasks
Title: Vinegar as a Herbicide
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

When can you use vinegar on weeds to get rid of them.

ANSWER:

Depending on my attitude at the time – almost anytime and never.

Here’s the deal:  Almost anytime because you should consider it a broadcast herbicide.  Put it on plants, any plants, and they’re history [in theory].

Never because it’s a broadcast herbicide and not all that good as one.  The Wildflower Center is big on natural solutions, and it is natural, but a broadcast herbicide will kill anything it contacts.[Including all your desired plants that are accidentally in the way. Murphys Law insists that they will die a horrible death while the weed will just shake it off.].

Here is a great previous Mr Smarty Plants answer that puts a little more detail into my comment that it is not a very good herbicide and better explains why our preferred approach doesn’t include broadcast herbicides.

Here is a Mr Smarty Plants answer on the topic of invasive week control with some more detailed advice.

And, I found three more answers like this where vinegar wasn’t such a good solution, this answer points to some websites with approaches for invasive weed control.

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

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Getting rid of poison ivy
May 08, 2009 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants, Likewise I also have a shady area in my yard with overgrowth of poison ivy. It borders a small duck pond and we have a Golden Retriever. I too would like to plant soon afterward...
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