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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - October 17, 2012

From: Kyle, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives
Title: Removing Creeping Fig Suckers
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Help Mr Smarty Plants, I am helping a neighbor remove a creeping fig from her property and want to know if there is any product that will soften, emulsify or remove the remaining sucker roots on the hardy plank and trim. Thanks!

ANSWER:

Technically, Mr Smarty Plants wants nothing to do with the non-native, invasive Ficus pumila. At the same time since you are trying to get rid of it, we’d love to present a solution.  Unfortunately, Mr Smarty Plants tried a few different angles of research and didn’t find very much to help you and your neighbor.  Creeping Fig is known for its solid sucker attachments and there isn’t much more than elbow grease available to remove them.

Here are some previous Mr. Smarty Plants offerings on the topic of Creeping Fig:
 Climbing vines non-damaging to walls in Round Rock, TX
 Vine for stucco wall in St. Petersburg FL
 Non-native creeping fig and non-native nutgrass in Carmichael CA

  Mr Smarty Plants did look farther afield on the Internet and found a number of articles that were reasonably consistent in their advice.  This one, from eHow, recommends letting the vines dry, then a combination of scraping, dampening and brushing.  Although we don’t like the herbicide line, this is one vine where it’s use might be justified!  There is a similar article about removing the suckers from brick.  More aggressive techniques can be used in this case as the brick can take it.  One article Mr Smarty Plants saw even recommended flaming the residuals off of brick!  While I don't recommend that, you may want to experiment with a scrap piece of hardy plank [or a hidden area] to see just how agressive you can get!

In the meantime, here are some pictures of much more appropriate vines!

 

From the Image Gallery


Purple clematis
Clematis pitcheri

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Purple passionflower
Passiflora incarnata

More Invasive Plants Questions

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

Nutgrass
September 12, 2008 - Hey Hi Barbara, I just read the information you gave about nut grass. I had wished for other options. Back to digging them out. Thanks for the information What about substituting cud zoo. S...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for Central California from Concord CA
July 19, 2012 - I live in a part of California where the summers can be very hot and dry but quite cool and wet during the rainy seasons in the wintertime. The soil around my home is very dry, rocky and infertile. I...
view the full question and answer

Native plants threatened by invasives in Oklahoma?
September 28, 2010 - What are some native plants in Oklahoma that are being threatened by invasive species?
view the full question and answer

Hybrid Campsis radicans 'Madame Rosy' from Medina OH
July 07, 2012 - I have a Madame Rosy Campsis that is not blooming. We purchased and planted it last year, mid-summer and it did well for the remainder of the season but this year...nothing but green leaves........wh...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center