Contact Us Host an Event 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

Sunday - June 20, 2004

From: Elberon, NJ
Region: Northeast
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Solarization and hand-pulling to remove invasive weeds
Answered by: Stephen Brueggerhoff

QUESTION:

We are planting a field of native grasses, and prepared the landscape by solarization last July. However it now seems that the weeds returned with great vigor. Is there any other method to get rid of the weeds without using chemicals?

ANSWER:

The answer to your inquiry lies in patience. You have practiced responsible preventative maintenance by providing solarization. Some 'weed' species may persist the first or second year of site preparation, and you may have to rely on herbicidal 'spot treatment' to exclude these aggresive species. Mowing at appropriate heights is one method of mechanical maintenance. Mowing before the weeds set flower or seed reduces the chances for seed dispersal. Vigilance with hand pulling unwanted species is also key, as well as continuing to increase ecologically appropriate species populations. With steady work, you should be able to see more positive results by the third or fourth year post-installation. Click here to review an article on Wildflower Meadow Gardening, which provides detailed information reviewing methods for developing a healthy native plant landscape.
 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Weed and feed for buffalograss
October 30, 2007 - What is a good winterizer or weed & feed for buffalo grass? I live in Southwest Austin.
view the full question and answer

Caring for a wildflower meadow in Austin, TX.
March 22, 2016 - We have a meadow full of wildflowers in the country, bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, etc. What can we do to promote continued growth and is there a certain time of year we should mow? Should we fe...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover to control erosion in Montgomery County, Texas
February 24, 2014 - I am looking for some kind of ground cover to control erosion on a north facing slope in Montgomery County, Texas. The area gets very little direct sunlight. I need something that will establish quick...
view the full question and answer

Retention ponds for states in southeast, from Greenville SC
July 14, 2012 - We provide maintenance for Stormwater detention ponds and are looking for native grasses to plant in the bottom and sides of typically dry detention basins. Prefer low growing grasses that spread to...
view the full question and answer

Drought-resistant plants for Paradise, California
January 23, 2009 - We are moving to a new home in Paradise, CA. What drought resistant plants do well in Paradise ? Thank you !!
view the full question and answer

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