En EspaŅol

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
1 rating

Thursday - August 10, 2006

From: Phenix , AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Overseeding native wildflower seeds as opposed to herbicides
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Greetings from Alabama, We would like to "roundup" approx 2 A and plant some wildflower (s) that would TAKE OVER. We have 20 A and over half is in mixed woods. Pine, oak, sweetgum, and ???. Do you have any suggestions? Are there any wildflowers that will return if we use pre-emergence fertilizer?

ANSWER:

You may have a misperception about the way nature works. Plants fill niches that provide both the opportunity and the conditions for success. The large-scale use of herbicides typically result in successful growth of what we generally consider to be weedy, undesirable species and less succesful development of more desirable wildflowers.

You asked about two different types of herbicides. Roundup is the tradename of an herbicide containing the active ingredient glyphosate. It is a contact herbicide which works on green, growing plants. Pre-emergent herbicides prevent germinating seeds from growing. Whether you use either, both or none of these herbicides will largely depend on what you are trying to control and what stage of growth it's in. Often it is possible to obtain the desired results without using any herbicides at all. The application of herbicides often results in disturbed conditions similar to tilling which provide the perfect conditions for most of the noxious weeds you will encounter.

It is often better to overseed with desirable wildflower species to provide the best opportunity for them to become established. A wildflower seed mix designed for your area will contain some species that will successfully become established - sometimes spectacularly so - others that will be less successful and a few that will fail completely. However, by overseeding you are far less likely to create a two-acre haven for cocklebur, beggarticks or rattlepod.

The article Wildflower Meadows can be found in the NPIN Native Plant Library.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Fall Flower Planting in Abilene, TX
October 14, 2014 - Are there any flowers that can be planted in the fall in Abilene Texas?
view the full question and answer

Optimum viewing time for Texas wildflowers, bluebonnets
March 01, 2007 - I will make a car trip from Alabama to Anson, Texas, in the next month or so. I would like to time my visit to see the Blue Bonnets and/or wildflowers blooming. Please advise me as to the best time t...
view the full question and answer

Planting Clover in Falcon, CO
January 21, 2010 - What is the best clover to plant here on the front range? It must be durable, able to survive harsh climate and changing conditions and thrive on little rain.
view the full question and answer

Is Annual Rye Choking Out Wildflowers in Austin?
January 15, 2011 - We live about 3 miles from the wildflower center on 3 acres and there is a natural area on our property that gets a lot of wildflowers. Last winter we threw out annual rye seed to have some greenery ...
view the full question and answer

Early spring wildflowers of Pennsylvania
September 30, 2011 - What native wildflower is the first to bloom in Weedville, Pa? (Jay township, Elk county) I am working on a research paper for my Environmental Problems class, and this would be very helpful. Thank y...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center