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?


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


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


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 Non-Natives Questions

Browning leaves on non-native Burford holly
August 22, 2008 - I have several dwarf Burford hollies whose leaves are browning. The individual leaves have colors of green, dark brown to light brown extending from the stem. Any ideas?
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree with red feathery leaves
March 08, 2012 - What is the name of a tree with dark red leaves, feathery, slim trunk; maybe in the pepper family? Jedi?
view the full question and answer

Conditions for non-native, poisonous mandrakes
July 04, 2006 - What climates or conditions can mandrakes live in? Do they have to live submerged in water, with some water, or with very little? Why? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Mediterranean Pines indigenous to Verde Valley AZ
January 01, 2012 - Are the tall, thin Mediterranean/Pencil Pines growing in the Verde Valley in Arizona indigenous to the area? They are so plentiful, but are not identified as an indigenous evergreen. If not, how did...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a nursing home resident from LaQuinta CA
July 26, 2013 - I take care of an elderly woman with dementia. She is in a nursing home and she's always LOVES flowers and plants. Do you have any suggestions for potted outdoor blooming plants for the summer in...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center