Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Wednesday - May 16, 2012

From: Sacramento, CA
Region: California
Topic: Invasive Plants, Problem Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Eliminating ragweed in Sacramento CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Rag weed. How to be rid of it! My wife and lots of others that live in this part of Sacramento suffer greatly.

ANSWER:

If we had the final answer to that one, we would not be volunteering at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; we would be making a zillion dollars selling the "cure" to everyone allergic to ragweed, which is virtually everyone. Then, we would donate a lot of money to the Wildflower Center. Alas, it is not to be.

Sadly, Ambrosia artemisiifolia (Annual ragweed) is native to all over North America, so it doesn't seem there is anywhere to hide. This article on Common Ragweed from Illinois Wildflowers seems to say it all. You can follow the plant link to our webpage on the plant to learn when it blooms and how it spreads and pollinates. It is, obviously, the pollen that causes all the problems.

Since it is absolutely necessary that you breathe, we recommend that you seek medical help in treating the symptoms, as there is no way to keep the stuff out of the air. And avoid long walks on the prairie, that's just asking for it. There are antihistamines that should at least help to alleviate the symptoms, but that's about all we have to offer.

Pictures of Ambrosia artemisiifolia (Annual ragweed)

 

More Problem Plants Questions

Desert Willow Roots from Lubbock, TX
September 18, 2014 - I have a very, very happy Desert Willow that has grown larger than we expected and is probably too close to the house. Do I need to worry about a cracked foundation or pipe problems? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Update on controlling live oak suckers with newspapers, cardboard and mulch
September 12, 2014 - Can we get an update on the march 2011 topic of live oak suckers? I am wondering if the newspaper/cardboard/mulch layers continued to take care of the problem. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Want to identify thorny vines growing in Charlotte Hall, MD
April 25, 2013 - I have vines with thorns growing in my wood, vining around the trees and killing them. It grows and vines go up trees of any height all the way to the top. It has green pointy leaves. If it doesn't...
view the full question and answer

Problem with weeds in the buffalograss
June 11, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I'm about to throw in the towel! My back 'lawn' of buffalo grass (609) is almost all 'weeds'! Native ruellia and lyre leaf sage have taken over and as the area has gott...
view the full question and answer

Identity of stinging weed in Pearl, Mississippi
March 20, 2016 - I live in Pearl, MS. Yesterday I pulled a weed that right away started stinging my hand and in a few hours turned into stinging numbness. The weed has dark green heart shaped leaves with purple veins ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.