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

Monday - April 16, 2012

From: Brownstown, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Edible Plants, Groundcovers
Title: Help with control of small, invasive groundcover
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a very invasive ground cover creeping into my yard. I've tried to identify it and it's similar to creeping charlie or garlic mustard. Leaves are triangular with jagged edges, small purple flowers. It grows in clumps in the lawn and in the soil. Doesn't seem to have much of a smell, not minty or garlicky, just smells like dirt! I think I may have figured it out. Possibly purple dead nettle. I also see that it is edible?? Well, I'm not sure I'm going to be putting it in my smoothies, but I'd still like to know how to control it. Neighbors yard is full of it! Thanks again for you time! Can you help me with control. It wants to invade my vegetable garden! Thanks so much!

ANSWER:

Your description does sound like Lamium purpureum (Purple dead-nettle), a Eurasian native that is listed as an invasive weed.   Here are more photos and information from the Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide.

Suggestions for its control from Michigan State University, Clemson University, Turf Grass Science from the University of Tennessee and GardenGuides.com include application of herbicides, hand pulling, tilling and preventing it from setting seed by keeping it mown to a level that removes the flowers and developing seeds.  Michigan State University Weed Science article suggest that tilling it under will control it.  All of the articles suggest herbicides and there is an excellent table listing herbicides, their properties and cautions and instructions on their use in the University of Tennessee article.

According to Nature's Herbal, it is edible.  Maybe if you try and like those smoothies, you could control it that way—by eating it!

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Groundcover for sunny yard in New Jersey
July 23, 2008 - Hi. I'm looking for ground cover for a mostly sunny section of my yard. The ground we are looking to cover is next to a slight hill with in a few feet of an in ground pool. I would like something tha...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen groundcover in Louisiana
November 17, 2009 - I need a suggestion for an evergreen groundcover plant that can tolerate moist soil. I want something that is low maintenance to go around a pergola in my backyard that gets mostly full sun.
view the full question and answer

Low Ground Cover for Steep, Shaded PA Site
February 17, 2014 - I am located in Downingtown, PA, right on the border between Zone 6 and 7. Please provide a recommendation of a native ground cover for the following conditions: steep slope (greater than 45%), full s...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for area under oaks in Lake Conroe, Texas
October 17, 2010 - I live just off Lake Conroe, and my backyard is more dirt than grass. It is under a number of oak trees, and the dirt is more of a silt than a sand. I need suggestions for a quick growing ground cover...
view the full question and answer

Vinca minor and St. Augustine grass
November 22, 2009 - Will St. Augustine grass choke out vinca minor?
view the full question and answer

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