En Espa—ol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - April 10, 2012

From: Spring Branch, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Meadow Gardens, Grasses or Grass-like, Wildflowers
Title: Herbicide use in bluebonnet field in Blanco, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have the best of both worlds and the worst of both worlds. Iíve been throwing bluebonnet seeds for 6 years on our property near Blanco, and when it rains, as it has this year, am starting to establish a very nice spring wildflower display. I also have established buffalo grass mixed in with the wildflowers. However, the weeds are another problemÖ There are products that kill broadleaf weeds and donít harm buffalo grass (Image) but they kill the wildflowers. And there are products that kill grasses but donít harm broadleaf weeds/forbes (wildflowers). But there are no selective products that keep the buffalo grass alive and at the same time, donít harm the wildflowers. Bluebonnets begin to grow their rosettes in November/December. Iím wondering what would happen if I sprayed an herbicide like Image in September, if it would harm the bluebonnet seeds lying on the ground. I know bluebonnets have a tough coating in the wild, and wonder if this coating would protect them from the herbicide? If I sprayed in September, I was thinking the herbicide would kill the weeds, but the bluebonnetís tough coating and fall rains would protect the seeds until they starting growing their rosettes in late Nov/Dec. What do you think about this scheme? I try, but I canít pull weeds on 17 acres. Thank you for your help.

ANSWER:

The word herbicide comes to us from the Latin herba = plant and caedere = to kill. Weeds, unfortunately, don’t come with a clear cut definition, and are sometimes in the eye of the beholder. This brings to mind the aphorism; “One person’s weeds are another person’s wildflowers.” You didn’t mention the kinds of weeds you are battling, so this makes an evaluation of your scheme difficult. I’m not clear what plants you would be spraying in September that would interfere with bluebonnets in the spring. Bluebonnets can begin germinating in October, and the herbicide sprayed in September may have a residual effect on the young seedlings.

I’m going to provide links to three sites that may prove helpful to you. The first is to this aggie-horticulture site that describes bluebonnet cultivation. The second  from our  “How to Articles" also tells about growing bluebonnets. The third selection, A GUIDE TO NATIVE PLANT GARDENING, deals with soil preparation when planting and growing wildflowers.

 

 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

More Wildflowers Questions

Flowering plant for gravesite in Weatherford TX
June 23, 2013 - I want to plant flowering plant of some kind at parent's grave site in Weatherford, TX. The family cemetery is on a limestone hill with no irrigation or ability to water other than nature. Would on...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for high canal bank in Florida
May 27, 2009 - My home is on a canal to a natural lake in Central Florida (Orlando area). I am wondering if there is a wildflower that I can grow on a 3' high canal bank that is mostly shady.
view the full question and answer

First flower of the year from Tallahassee FL
August 20, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, What is the first wildflower to bloom in the North Florida area each year? I appreciate your knowledge and attention to all the questions you are asked.
view the full question and answer

Neighborhood association wanting wildflowers mowed from Grand Prairie TX
July 14, 2013 - For at least 15 years, I have been fostering growth of wildflowers in 60% of my 90x400' yard which include 150' utility trunkline easement in which I can plant no trees. This year, we had volunteer ...
view the full question and answer

What happened to the bluebonnets?
June 09, 2008 - I was wondering if you could tell me why there weren't any bluebonnets out this year? I live in the Hill Country and drive to Austin everyday. I look forward to seeing the bluebonnets up and down the...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center