En Español

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
1 rating

Saturday - March 17, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Bastard cabbage in Austin TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Not sure if this is the forum to address this; but is there any effort out there to do something about the bastard cabbage taking over Austin? Especially on MoPac where you can hardly see the bluebonnets this year. This stuff exploded in front of my business in Cedar Park a few years ago and I pulled it all out in a few weeding sessions and it has not been a problem since. Has the Highway Department or whoever in charge of this just decided it's hopeless and we will watch it take over?

ANSWER:

1. Mr. Smarty Plants is not a forum, right or wrong. We are a largely volunteer team answering questions about native plants.

2. From Texas Invasives, here is information on the spread of Rapistrum rugosum (Bastard cabbage).

3. The responsible agency on roadside plants such as this is the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDot). Here are their Vegetation Management Guidelines. Sometimes mowing is delayed or prohibited to permit wildflowers (such as bluebonnets) get through their blooming season and set seeds, but there are probably funding and manpower issues that keep all the roadsides from being mowed all the time.

4. Bastard Cabbage is a survivor; it can be mowed almost to the ground and will promptly put out some stalks, even from flat on the surface, bloom and put out seeds.

5. If there were enough willing volunteers to get out and hand-pull the plants, as you have done, possibly it could be controlled, but we don't think so.

5. Here is an article on the spread and control of the plant from the Plant Conservation Alliance Alien Plant Working Group.

6. From the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, Invasive Plants.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native Genista racemosa from Houston
June 17, 2012 - Read your info on Genista Racemosa. Doesn't address my problem of it not blooming this year. It's in full sun and growing well, about 30" tall & round. Bloomed last year. We're feeding with ba...
view the full question and answer

Brown, dry leaves on weeping willow tree
May 01, 2008 - We live in central TX and have just planted a weeping willow tree. Our back yard has a retention pond and ravine that parallels our property and we were told that the weeping willow will do perfectly ...
view the full question and answer

Native shrubs to replace non-native boxwood in Parker County, TX
January 31, 2009 - I'm looking to replace some Japanese Boxwoods my wife planted years ago with some native plants, they run along the front of our house next to the foundation and porch about 60' in length. I prefer ...
view the full question and answer

Care for non-native Indian Banyan Tree
October 06, 2005 - I was given a Ficus benghalensis (Indian Banyan Tree) cutting, rooted in water. I need advice on how to plant it, what kind of dirt, best type of pot ie. plastic, glass, etc. The cutting is 1 foot i...
view the full question and answer

Suckers on non-native Mayten tree
April 26, 2009 - We have a Meyten tree that has lots of suckers coming up from the roots. We would like to keep the tree, but if we can't find a way to control the suckers, we are considering taking it out. Any sugg...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center