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?

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

Tuesday - January 22, 2013

From: LaGrange, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Problem Plants, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Need help fighting grass burs in La Grange, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have 4 acres of wildflowers planted in my front yard. Unfortunately, grassburs have crept in & I need to control them with a pre-emergent. Will this keep the wildflowers from blooming? Also, would like to apply a fertilizer, & the same question applies - will this affect my wildflowers?

ANSWER:

Grass burs have many common names, some of which we won’t mention in this space. There are at least 11 species listed in the USDA Plants Database, but the one you are dealing with is most likely Cenchrus spinifex (Coastal sandbur) (see distribution map) , or perhaps Cenchrus echinatus (southern sandbur) (see distribution map). 

Grass burs are considered to be summer annuals and can be controlled either chemically or mechanically. Pre-emergent herbicides offer a good means of chemical control of these weeds by preventing seed germination. Many of your wildflowers are also annuals however, so the timing of application is critical so you aren’t also preventing the wildflowers from germinating as well.

Mechanical control involves pulling (or digging) up the grass burrs before they flower and set seed. Cutting off the flower stalks before the seeds mature is also effective.

I’m going to refer you to a couple of links,  and a couple of answers to previous questions that will help flesh out these strategies.

The first link is to Texas AgriLife Extension, Aransas County Office, and has a thorough discussion of the problems and some cures for sand burs.

This link to Aggie-horticulture includes information concerning herbicide use.

These two answers to previous questions should also prove helpful

   #878

   #7105

Another source of help is the Fayette County Office of Texas Agrilife Extension.

 

From the Image Gallery


Grass bur
Cenchrus spinifex

More Problem Plants Questions

Cat eating yucca stalks in England
May 07, 2013 - Is it safe for my cat to eat yucca as she is being sick and its hard to stop her
view the full question and answer

Poison ivy? vine in NJ
July 30, 2012 - I have a vine growing among some vegetation in my backyard. It has a leaf with 3 "points" with ridges along its edges. The smaller leaves are reddish which is why I thought poison ivy but definite...
view the full question and answer

Invasive native wild onions in East Granby CT
May 17, 2011 - I have wild onions which have become extremely invasive. I have no idea how to get rid of them, and this year they seem to have taken over my entire flower bed. I tried pulling the bulbs out for sever...
view the full question and answer

Should a tree near a water well be transplanted?
July 31, 2013 - I have a water well and have about a 6 yr live oak planted in close proximity to it( about 10 feet). Would it be wise enough to transplant the tree while its this young or leave it alone. Also I need ...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating skunk cabbage in Troy, NY
May 19, 2009 - My yard is overgrown with skunk cabbage. My question is how do I get rid of it?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center