Explore Plants

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
    
 

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 - May 22, 2013

From: Medina, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Grasses or Grass-like, Shrubs
Title: Non-native ligustrum in non-native fescue in Medina TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is there an effective way to kill baby ligustrums coming up in my fescue yard without harming the grass?

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants evolved; in your case, Bandera County, TX.

Festuca arundaceae (fescue) is a cool-season perennial native to Europe.

From Floridata, here is an article on Ligustrum japonica; please note the last paragraph in the Floridata article:

"WARNING
This shrub can be invasive and readily reseeds. If you do have plants, remove flowers and fruit to limit spread."

Although we don't recommend planting non-natives, especially invasive non-natives , we can still help you out on this one. There are two kinds of plants involved here: monocots and dicots. A dicot has leaves with branched veins, and is often referred to as a "broad-leaf" plant. The ligustrum is a dicot. Monocots are plants with narrow leaves, parallel veins and are often grasses. Fescue is a monocot.

You need to know this because when you go to a nursery to get something to try to get rid of the ligustrum sprouts, you need to look on the herbicide label and find one which works on dicots. DO NOT BUY A SPRAY!! Buy a small bottle of the concentrated herbicide and some disposable foam paintbrushes. Cut each ligustrum sprout off as close to the surface as you can, and then quickly paint the cut edge (the one still connected to the root in the ground) with the herbicide. Be careful, if a little drips on the grass (monocot, remember) it won't kill the grass but it won't be good for it either. You must paint the cut edge quickly because the plant will be trying to heal over to protect the roots. We doubt this will get all the way back to the "Mother" plant, and you will have to repeat the procedure as each new sprout comes up.

And now you know why ligustrum is considered an invasive plant,

 

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Sweet cherry tree for New Mexico
January 23, 2013 - What is the best kind of sweet cherry tree to plant in Santa Fe, NM? I have apple, apricot, peach and pear. Would like cherry unless it is a bad idea.
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native St. Augustine grass in Spring TX
July 09, 2009 - St. Augustine. It's July 6th, 3 weeks ago my grass was green and healthy, today I've got large patches (20' x 3') that are dying. I water my yard 10 mins / day in the morning (5:00 am). It's been...
view the full question and answer

Regulations for transporting plants to Texas from Florida
July 29, 2008 - We are relocating to TX from FL, I have a collection of potted palm trees and quite a few potted tropical plants (none are invasive)that I would like to bring with us, we will be traveling by car and ...
view the full question and answer

Sickly non-native plumerias in California
August 26, 2008 - I have 5 plumeria plants in pots, between 2-3 years old. The beginning of the summer they all looked great and now were looking pretty sick, pale/yellowing leaves, burned areas & spots. I have a long ...
view the full question and answer

Problems getting desert western US plant Stanleya pinnata to bloom in England
March 13, 2006 - I am having trouble getting my Princes plume (Stanleya pinnata) to produce a flower and then go to seed. Do you have any advice on triggering flowering in this plant?
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.