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 Invasive Plants Questions

Pruning drought-stressed butterfly plants from Kerrville TX
August 22, 2011 - Due to the drought, our butterfly bushes have dead branches. Ordinarily we prune the dormant plants in winter, but can we cut back dead branches now?
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of invasive Florida betony from Myrtle Beach SC
April 28, 2012 - How can I get rid of Florida Betony from my lawn and flower beds/ garden area. Garden area was thoroughly dug up and hand picked of all tubules last year at least a foot deep. They are much worse now....
view the full question and answer

Chinaberry trees coming up volunteer
October 14, 2007 - I have several chinaberry trees that have sprouted after my neighbor trimmed his tree. I have cut these trees down to the ground a couple of times, but they just send out new shoots. Any idea on how...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID of invasive vine from Austin
August 21, 2013 - A friend lives in southwest Austin and has a vine that's coming up all over her yard. I am a Williamson County Master Gardener and have asked all the garden gurus in my group what it is from a photo ...
view the full question and answer

Control of Roosevelt weed in Hays County, TX
August 29, 2006 - Roosevelt weed is rapidly taking over the ranchette which we have purchased in Hays County. Any suggestions for reducing or eliminating its presence will be appreciated. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

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