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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.

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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.

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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!

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Friday - August 23, 2013

From: San Diego, CA
Region: California
Topic: Problem Plants
Title: Eradicating Cucurbita foetidissima (wild gourd) in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in San Diego County where the wild gourd/stink gourd roams freely and quickly. Any suggestions on how to eradicate. It is extremely invasive and nothing has worked! Thank you,

ANSWER:

Cucurbita foetidissima (Stinking gourd) can cover a lot of ground just from one plant.  How much stinking gourd are we talking about?  Acres and acres?  I did an internet search to see if I could find anyone else who had the problem of invasive stinking gourd, but didn't have much luck.   I don't know what methods you have tried, but here is what I would try if I had the problem.   Find the spot where the vines come out of the ground.  Cut off all the runners from that origin, then paint the stumps with an appropriate herbicide.   Check with a local nursery to find an herbicide that would be most effective.  One of the foam, sponge-like paintbrushes would be best to use for painting the stump.  It is important to paint the stumps as soon as you have cut the vine runners off them.  Plant cells often quickly seal damaged areas and this could result iin less herbicide entering the root system.  Simply spraying the vines with herbicide will not be as effective and could result in killing nearby desirable plants.  Be sure to dispose of gourds containing seeds so that the seeds will not have a chance to germinate (e.g., put them in a plastic bag and place in the trash).  Read the instructions and safety warnings on the herbicide label carefully and follow them to protect yourself and the environment.  Good luck!

 

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