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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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

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