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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - April 28, 2012

From: Spicewood, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Problem Plants
Title: Eliminating KR? Bluestem from St. Augustine Yard in Spicewood, TX
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

How can I eradicate bluestem grass invading my St. Augustine lawn?

ANSWER:

The short answer is that your best bet is to get out there and dig up the offending plant.

This is kind of an awkward question for Mr. Smarty Plants since the mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to promote the use of native plants and it appears that you have a situation where one non-native species is invading another non-native species.

You don't specifically identify the bluestem you are having a problem with, but Mr. Smarty Plants suspects you are talking about King Ranch bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum var. songarica), frequently referred to as KR bluestem or KRB.

KR bluestem was introduced from Europe and Asia, and has greatly increased its range by cultivation for livestock forage and as an inclusion in seed mixes used to stabilize roadsides by highway departments. When it was introduced in the 1920s and 1930s it was seen as a desirable species for erosion control since it is drought resistant and quickly establishes itself. This plant is now considered an invasive species and its presence threatens the abundance and diversity of native species.

St. Augustine is also non-native that has been imported from tropical regions.

Here is another Mr. Smarty Plants answer to a similar question with a link to an even earlier answer that goes into some detail about eliminating KR. You'll see that the methods discussed are probably not practical in a home yard, so back to the digging.

 

More Problem Plants Questions

Germination of Sophora seeds, and Dodder identification in Kingsland, TX.
May 02, 2012 - Our Mt. Laurel has just produced seeds. Can those be scarified and planted now or do they have to dry out. Also what is the stringy orange substance that gets on bluebonnets and other wildflowers ...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating agave roots in Tonto Basin AZ
April 22, 2009 - Greetings Mr. Smarty Plants, from Tonto Basin, AZ! We have numerous mature (huge!) Agave Americana plants here, and have, until recently, enjoyed them. However, we are now ready for a drastic landscap...
view the full question and answer

Should Mexican milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) not be used to attract Monarch butterflies?
November 20, 2015 - Should I remove Asclepias curassavica (Mexican milkweed) in my garden for threat of OE parasitic protozoan threat to Monarch butterflies? Is this threat as widespread as Chronicle implies? I had great...
view the full question and answer

How do you get rid of Mexican Petunia?
July 21, 2009 - How do you get rid of Mexican Petunia?
view the full question and answer

Problems with Mexican feathergrass
October 24, 2015 - I live in Austin. I've recently seen negative comments re: Mexican feathergrass. Is it native to this area? Is it becoming a problem? I have had it in my yard for years and never considered it a ...
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center