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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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Monday - February 23, 2015

From: Lindale, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: How to eliminate Sawgrass from a small lake in Lindale, TX?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We live on a small acre lake (about 65 acres) and the majority of the lake is surrounded by what the locals are calling saw grass. From the description on the website, I believe they are correct. The question is how is the best way to eliminate the saw grass as it appears that it is very slowly en-croaching the lake?

ANSWER:

The plant commonly called saw grass is in the sedge family in the genus Cladium, and there are two species that grow near you in Lindale, Smith County, Texas. Cladium mariscoides (Smooth sawgrass) grows in both Henderson and Anderson Counties, and Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense (Jamaica swamp sawgrass) grows in Anderson County. It has been described as the signature plant of the Florida Everglades.

With such a description, you might imagine that it is an aggressive, invasive plant. Attempts at eradication and control include burning, altering the hydroperiod in the habitat, and controlling nutrient levels. The links below discuss experiments  utilizing these methods

   burning

   hydroperiod alteration

   changing nutrients

These are fairly technical, but one take home message seems to be that eliminating the saw grass may leave the lake open to some other invader such as cattails.

I would recommend contacting the folks at the Smith County office of  Texas A&M AgriLife  Extension  for some help closer to home.

 

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