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
1 rating

Tuesday - May 15, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives
Title: Invasive plants in native plant area from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Why do invasive plants grow in native plant territory?

ANSWER:

Actually, some invasives are native, as well. Usually, invasiveness is controlled by the soil, climate or water being wrong for the non-native. However, plants don't necessarily grow where they belong, they grow where they can get away with it. If a non-native plant manages to get seeds in the ground where there are good conditions, it will grow aggressively, shading or crowding out the native plants around it. There is no natural barrier to keep non-natives nor invasives out of a territory previously dominated by native plants.

In the case of Bastard Cabbage, which we are hearing so much about, it is believed the non-native seeds sneaked in as part of an imported grass mix. When the grass seed was put in the ground, probably some of it blew away to contaminate another area right away, and the rest of the seeds grew into plants that quickly grew, flowered and seeded for still more. They grow quickly, are aggressive with long taproots that spread, and very low-growing flowering sprouts that can dodge being mowed. Read the linked article above to learn how that particular non-native invasive got going. The seeds germinate in late Fall and early Winter, and the early rosettes quickly cover the ground, shading out seeds of more desirable native flowers that were there before.

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Invasive native mint in Tippecanoe OH
August 23, 2009 - I have a problem with Mentha Arvensis, I raise sheep and goats and they will not eat this. The mint is starting to take over my 65 acre farm,Q.What is best way to rid this plant so I do not lose my gr...
view the full question and answer

Need to know about the invasiveness of Datura wrightii.
May 17, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I recently purchased a small Datura wrightii plant for my front garden. I've been researching it, since I know it is quite toxic, and couldn't find a good answer to one quest...
view the full question and answer

Root barriers for invasive plant roots from neighbor in Austin
July 24, 2011 - My neighbor's invasive plantings are invading my yard. He has Chinese parasol, China berry, Japanese honeysuckle, privets, ligustrums and native Mustang grape vines planted so closely together they ...
view the full question and answer

Sandbur invasion in Mission TX
June 08, 2011 - I have a spiny sandbur invasion in my yard. Even the dog tiptoes around to do her business. Because I live in Mission, TX, this weed acts like a perennial and is constantly growing (no winter freezes...
view the full question and answer

Is Yaupon Invasive in the Austin Area?
March 24, 2011 - Is Yaupon Holly invasive in the Austin area? Should we be removing it from our yards and/or greenbelt spaces? Thanks for your input!
view the full question and answer

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