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
1 rating

Wednesday - May 29, 2013

From: Bennettsville, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Yaupon sprouts from Bennettsville SC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have Yaupons in a flower bed and they have too many shoots to pull up, can I spray them with roundup and not kill the bush and what strength should I use?

ANSWER:

DON'T SPRAY!! Not only would it kill the bush, it would drift to other plants and damage them, too.

Now, on to the shoots. Sometimes the appearance of a bunch of shoots is the result of stress to the "mother" plant. In other words, the plant is trying to propagate itself because it is threatened by something. We are going to our webpage on Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon) in our Native Plant Database and give you the growing condions for this plant:

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Moist or well drained, sandy, loamy, clay, limestone, or gravelly soils.
Conditions Comments: Yaupon is a versatile plant that tolerates drought and poor drainage, with best production of red fruit when shrub gets half a day of sun or more."

As you can see this is a pretty tolerant plant. However, when we look at the USDA Plant Profile on this plant, you can see the yaupon is not recorded as growing naturally in Marlboro County, so there may be a soil issue, but we don't think it's that important.

Finally, dealing with the sprouts. Be aware that the treatment we are going to recommend could get clear back to the main plant and cause damage to it. We still think it is preferable to snip off the sprouts at or below ground level, but you can take an added step which might help keep them from recurring. Purchase a small bottle of wide spectrum herbicide and some small disposable paint brushes. After you have clipped off each sprout, quickly, within 5 minutes, paint the cut edge with the undiluted herbicide. You must do this quickly because the stem will be healing itself over to protect the root. Remember, these sprouts are coming from the main root of the shrub, although some of them could be seedlings. If they are seedlings, pull them out. If they are sprouts, that same herbicide could travel through that root structure to the main plant.

You won't particularly thwart the sprouts by just cutting them off without the herbicide, but at least you won't threaten the main plant. Your decision.

 

From the Image Gallery


Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

More Pruning Questions

Trimming inland sea oats from Waco TX
January 30, 2013 - Re: Inland Sea Oats and trimming back in early spring "It passes through most of winter a soft brown, but becomes tattered and gray by February, a good time to cut it back to the basal rosette." ...
view the full question and answer

Care for large trumpet vine in Hugo MN
June 09, 2010 - I was recently given a large Trumpet vine that has been growing in the same place for the last 25 years.I have replanted it and given it a large trellis to grow on.I live in central Minnesota. My ques...
view the full question and answer

Rejuvenating an old Wax myrtle hedge
February 15, 2016 - I have 8 wax myrtles that were planted about 9 years ago as a screen from our neighbors. They are about 12 feet high. During the past 9 months they are getting thinner and thinner. Two of them hav...
view the full question and answer

Clipping of beans from newly planted Tecoma stans
April 22, 2008 - I purchased a Esperanza Plant in a pot from a nursery in April of 2008. We planted it and it is doing fine, but came with blooms and beans. Do I need to do clip or prune the beans at this stage of g...
view the full question and answer

Mountain Laurel suffering from Spring freeze
May 12, 2015 - I have a 4 1/2 ft Texas Mountain Laurel shrub in current location for several years. A hard freeze this spring killed every leaf on the tree, but the stems remained green. My other smaller Mt. Laure...
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