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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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Wednesday - February 25, 2015

From: Grand Prairie, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Water Gardens, Problem Plants, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Plants to replace Phragmites australis (Common reed) in Cedar Ridge Preserve
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in the DFW area and volunteer at a preserve (Cedar Ridge). We are constantly battling the common reed, Phragmites australis, around the pond. I am wondering what should be growing around it and if you know where such plants can be sourced. Thanks.

ANSWER:

Below are some native plants that grow in wet soils and are shown to occur in Dallas County by the USDA Plants Database that should grow well in the same area as the Phragmites australis (Common reed). All of these are commerically available.

GRASSES AND GRASS-LIKE SPECIES

Andropogon glomeratus (Bushy bluestem)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Eleocharis palustris (Common spikerush)

Juncus interior (Inland rush)

Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge)

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge)

Scirpus cyperinus (Woolgrass)

Schoenoplectus californicus (California bulrush)

AQUATIC AND SEMI-AQUATIC HERBAL PLANTS

Asclepias incarnata (Swamp milkweed)

Dyschoriste linearis (Snake herb)

Equisetum hyemale (Scouringrush horsetail)

Justicia americana (American water-willow)

Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed)

To find these plants I recommend searching in our National Suppliers Directory. To search for nurseries or seed companies in your area, first click on the "List All Suppliers" link. When the list comes up, then put "Dallas Texas" in the Enter Search Location slot to get a list of Texas native plant suppliers.

Some of the aquatics are going to be more difficult to find. I recommend that you contact the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) chapters near you to see if they have ideas about resources for these particular plants in your area. Here are the webpages for some of those that are near you:

Dallas Chapter of NPSOT

Collin County Chapter of NPSOT

Cross Timbers Chapter (Weatherford) of NPSOT

North Central Texas Chapter of NPSOT

Trinity Forks Chapter (Denton) of NPSOT

Garland Chapter of NPSOT

Pond societies such as the North Texas Water Garden Society might be able lead you to sources for aquatic natives.

 

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