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

Non-native zoysia and bermuda grasses in Austin
July 11, 2013 - We have Bermuda grass in the front and Zoysia in the back yards. The back grass is fine but the front yard Bermuda isn't. We have watered once each week during the spring and during the past 3 weeks...
view the full question and answer

Conversion of patch of bermuda grass to native perennial garden in Texas
March 20, 2006 - My wife and I want to take a section of our front lawn that is currently in Bermuda grass and plant some native perennials with lots of flowers. The area will be a quarter-circle in a corner of the la...
view the full question and answer

Alternate native plants for bamboo as a privacy screen in Austin, TX.
July 26, 2011 - Can you recommend a bamboo that I can plant, acting as a privacy screen, reaching at least 10'-12'? We are looking for a bamboo that does not spread, and can take the afternoon sun. It will be pla...
view the full question and answer

Dietes bicolor invasive from Brisbane Australia
April 01, 2013 - We have dietes bicolor growing in our garden. I am changing the type of garden and cannot seem to kill it. I've dugged it out, spent too many weekends pulling out every new shoot, used poison, but t...
view the full question and answer

Killing a century plant from Burton TX
August 08, 2013 - How do you kill the century plant, they are taking over?
view the full question and answer

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