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
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

Friday - May 17, 2013

From: Mooresville, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Problem Plants
Title: Identity of and how to get rid of plant in planter in Indiana
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We moved to Mooresville Ind. (Brooklyn area) 3 yrs ago. In one of the 12x12 planters out back, these one THINGS keep cutting back and spreading everywhere. They are tall, hollow stem, seems like there is water in the stem and they break off easily. I can't get rid of them. They keep spreading,even grow from under the planter out to the grass. What are they and how do I get rid of them? No flowers, just greenish/reddish leaves and are a pain in the butt.

ANSWER:

Your description doesn't bring to mind any native plant in your area and the fact that the plants are growing in a planter suggests to me a cultivated nursery plant (not a native plant) introduced from elsewhere as an ornamental.  Our focus and expertise here at the Wildflower Center are with plants native to North America so you really need to ask someone else about your plant's identity.  The best way to determine its identity is take digital photos of it—the entire plant, a closeup of the stem to show how the leaves are attached and a closeup of the leaves to show their shape.  Next, you should visit our Plant Identification page where you will find the link to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.  Once you have learned its identity, you can search the internet to learn how to control it.

Alternatively, if you don't really care what it is but just want to get rid of it, you can:

1.  Dig up the roots and dispose of them in the garbage; or

2.  Cut the stems off near the bottom of each stem and, using a small foam brush, immediately paint the cut surface connected to the roots with an herbicide (such as RoundUp).  It is important to paint the cut area immediately because the plant's defense system will quickly seal the cut surfaces making it harder for the herbicide to penetrate.  You may have to do this several times before the roots die.  Be careful not to get the herbicide on plants you want to keep and read and follow the personal safety instructions on the label of the herbicide.

 

More Problem Plants Questions

Controlling Cnidoscolus texanus (Texas bullnettle)
July 18, 2013 - Hello,I need your help to control some nasty weeds in my yard/pasture. I am an old timer and do not have a picture to include—haven't figured out that part of the camera/phone yet. This weed is a pri...
view the full question and answer

Live oaks lifting up sidewalks in Palm Coast FL
December 12, 2013 - My live oak trees roots are lifting up my side walks. Can I cut just the roots that are causing the problem without hurting the trees? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Pruning Roughleaf dogwood
November 28, 2013 - We put 5 rough-leaf dogwoods along our side deck; having been told (by the local, natural plant seller) that they would reach a maximum height of 6 feet. They have grown taller than that (despite som...
view the full question and answer

Frost protection for non-native citrus trees from Austin
November 24, 2013 - With ice predicted, should I pick citrus, lemons, limes, satsumas that are not quite ready?
view the full question and answer

Ecosysystem with pecan at center from Austin
February 21, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I would like to create a native tree guild around a mature pecan. It shares its space with native shrubs and ephemerals but I would like to add a nitrogen fixing plant. I am...
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