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
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

Native or non-native hibiscus for Kansas
August 13, 2005 - I recently purchased a 10" Hibiscus flowering plant and would like to know how to care for it. How much water and sunlight does it need and how long I can expect it to live? It is a beautiful plant a...
view the full question and answer

Planting non-native sago palm and philodendron from Pflugerville TX
September 15, 2012 - I have a small/young sago palm and philodendron I'd like to plant. Do you advise to plant them now with fall/winter approaching or wait until next spring.
view the full question and answer

Alternatives for non-native, invasive Dianthus spp.
July 02, 2006 - We're landscaping our 1963 ranch house in Austin, and we're trying to balance low water and wildscape concerns. Being just across the street from Shoal Creek means we're staying away from anything ...
view the full question and answer

Need trees to screen view of parking garage in Houston, TX.
December 29, 2011 - We live in Houston, TX with a beautiful lot except a 4 story parking garage has been built behind us. How can we screen this and the lights out of site. It looks terrible from the second story espec...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of non-native Japanese maple
May 03, 2010 - My 10 year old Japanese red maple leaves suddenly started to curl up and die at the end of summer last year. Only about a quarter of the tree leaved out this spring, branches are dead. Can I plant ano...
view the full question and answer

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