Rent Shop 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

Controlling erosion in Leburn KY
July 21, 2009 - I would really appreciate advice on controlling a serious erosion problem in eastern Kentucky. The slope is north facing, shady and moist with rich soil. Would prefer to use native Kentucky plants. ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a bank too steep to mow
June 24, 2009 - Like the inquiry made in late June of 2008, mine involves a bank that is too steep to mow. However, ours is facing south. I am looking for a native grass, plant or groundcover. Any suggestions? ...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for medians in Colorado Springs
June 11, 2010 - Our city has stopped watering our historic landscaped medians due to severe budget shortfalls. The medians were historically tree boulevards but have had curb and gutter and blue grass added over th...
view the full question and answer

Plants/grasses for a bioswale in Maryland
February 08, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I'm looking for a good seed mixture, wetland plant/grass mix, to use in Bio-Swales in central Maryland. Can you help me?
view the full question and answer

Erosion blanket question from Antimony UT
August 03, 2011 - I want to use an erosion control blanket for a hill and want to know what type I should purchase that would allow planting seeds and them growing up through the blanket
view the full question and answer

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