En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Clover Among the Bluebonnets in Round Mountain, Texas

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

Friday - April 13, 2012

From: Round Mountain, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Clover Among the Bluebonnets in Round Mountain, Texas
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

I have a beautiful yard of bluebonnets, but mixed in with them are a tall clover that is hiding the flower's beauty and a shorter plant with clover-like leaves that produces burrs. Pulling is not an option due to the size of the crop. Is there anything that can be done to keep the clover and burs from showing up next year? Can I put down a pre-emergent after the bluebonnet seeds have germinated this fall, or will that impact future bluebonnet growth? Thanks.

ANSWER:

I'm not sure what the tall clover you describe is, but I'm pretty sure the shorter plant is bur clover. This obnoxious import is having a banner growth year here in central Texas and many areas are overrun with it.

Both bluebonnets and bur clover (Medicago spp.) are in the same family (Fabaceae) so they have a lot in common. You've already observed that they like to grow in the same area and that when one is having a good growth year, so is the other. This also means that a herbicide that is effective on bur clover will probably also get your bluebonnets.

Mr. Smarty Plants can't offer a nice, neat solution to your problem, but here are a couple of paths for you to think about:

Go ahead and apply a preemergent herbicide in late summer or early fall, then reseed bluebonnets a month or so later in the hope that the bur clover will be killed and that a new cop of bluebonnets will come up.

Be patient. Bluebonnets have been blooming aound here for thousands of years. Bur clover is a newcomer. My bet is that the bluebonnets will win in the long run.

If you decide to go the preemergent pesticide route, here are a couple of ideas

Here is an article from the Texas A&M Extension service that lists several preemergent herbicides that are effective in controlling clovers including bur clover.

Many gardeners, who prefer not to use synthetic herbicides, use corn glutem meal to control annual weeds. Here is an article from the University of Minnesota Extension Service about the use of corn meal gluten. 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

More Invasive Plants Questions

Non-native invasive henbit from Round Rock TX
April 27, 2013 - I've read in this book "Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants" that Henbit is an invasive plant in Texas. I've also read that it provides an early source of nectar to bees and butterflies when li...
view the full question and answer

Non-native citronella mosquito plant wintering inside in Charlotte NC
October 20, 2011 - Can I bring the citronella mosquito plant in the house over the winter, or should it be planted outside. I live in Charlotte, NC.
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant plants for privacy from Larchmont NY
April 19, 2014 - Love your site! We have a 4'x4'x50' stone wall, full sun, with a planting bed 30"H by 24"D. We're looking for privacy, so a hedge with pruning is needed. We have looked at Ilex Crenata (8'),...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating suckers from roots of Moraine locust in Hilliard, OH
July 07, 2009 - We removed a large Moraine Locust tree and also the stump. Now little trees from the roots are coming up. How do we get rid of these so something else can be planted?
view the full question and answer

Most invasive, noxious plant in U.S. from New York City.
November 26, 2012 - I was wondering, what is the most invasive/ noxious plant in the U.S? Thanks in advance.
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center