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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - March 09, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives
Title: Controlling Rapistrum rugosum (annual bastardcabbage)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

The invasive, Rapistrum rugosum, seems to be especially ubiquitous this year. I communicated with Dr. Mark Simmons a few years ago regarding his research, which indicated that over-sowing with the native wildflower, "Indian Blanket," controls or even eliminates the Rapistrum. However, when I forwarded this information to the UT Maintenance Dept. here at the Pickle Research Campus, the suggestion fell on deaf ears. Can mowing of the Rapistrum in the Spring time (before it goes to seed) also help? Would the you be willing to share your information with UT Maintenance? I don't seem to be having much effect on them. Thank you.

ANSWER:

According to the USDA Plants Database Rapistrum rugosum (Annual bastardcabbage) is an annual.  Cutting them down before they set seed would certainly reduce the numbers that will be produced next year.  Mark Simmons said that some blooms can grow low on the stem and may be below the mower blade and survive the mowing.  Additionally, seeds that have fallen previously can lie dormant for an extended time and come up when condidtions are favorable. Texas Invasives.org recommends pulling them up by hand—including pulling up the taproot—as the most effective strategy.  However, I doubt that this strategy is one that the UT Maintenance Department is likely to use.  That said, cutting them before they set seed would certainly reduce the seed base available for next year's crop and it is a very straightforward thing to do.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Mexican Lime Turning Yellow
March 25, 2015 - What causes moderate yellowing of 40% of the leaves of an 8 year old Mexican Lime Tree that is booming and blooming right now with lots of thick new growth? I used a general garden fertilizer a few ...
view the full question and answer

How to grow tulips and daffodils in Central Florida.
March 27, 2009 - My question is how can you grow tulips and daffdoils in central Florida, just south of Ocala, a place called the Villages? I am from the Washington, DC area and truly miss these flowers, any help wou...
view the full question and answer

How Can I Tell an Invasive Thistle from a Native
May 01, 2012 - Mr Smarty Plants, I have some thistles coming up in my yard. I'd like to keep them if they are native, but not if they are invasive or non-native. How can I tell? My yard is a wild area in West Lak...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Cleyera in Georgia
September 30, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I had a landscaper plant 4 Cleyera around my front porch. I have had them for about 9 years now and they are very hardy, each one being about 4 feet in width, 5 feet high ...
view the full question and answer

Pine bark on non-native St. Augustine grass in Kingwood TX
May 12, 2010 - I had two large Pine trees cut down. In the process of cutting the trees down there is a lot of pine bark from the tree on my St Augustine grass. Will this affect the growth of my grass?
view the full question and answer

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