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 Shrubs Questions

Native flower bed with part sun
December 05, 2008 - I have recently put in three small flower beds and replaced the hard clay with decent dirt. The site is shaded in the AM but mostly sun in the PM. I would like to plant natives - what can you recommen...
view the full question and answer

Living fence of native plants for Ojai, CA
September 20, 2008 - I would like to build a "green fence" about 10-15 feet tall. I live in Ojai, CA where we have VERY hot summers and it goes below freezing every winter. The soil does not seem to drain well..it is e...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of shrub with thorns and purple flowers
July 05, 2011 - I have a small tree or shrub, it has very small or thin thorns on the branches. It blooms in April / May. The flowers are purple. My mother-in-law said that it has been around for over 100 years, b...
view the full question and answer

Doorway Framing Shrub for Arizona
June 12, 2013 - My husband and I live in Buckeye, Arizona and have a door that faces west. Anything on our patio (including our metal door) gets sizzling hot! Is there a flowering shrub that we can put right up agai...
view the full question and answer

Replacements for photinia from San Antonio
August 31, 2012 - i just read your response to someone regarding Red Tip shrubs. You just saved me thousands of dollars ! I was getting ready to order over 250 of these to line my 2.5 acre fence line. What shrub would ...
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