Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

Support the plant database you love!

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

Monday - June 08, 2015

From: Sterling, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Groundcovers
Title: Groundcovers to choke out invasive species in Virginia
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

My yard has open woods and dappled light with clay soil. Thirty years ago we removed huge briars and since English Ivy was getting in by itself, we thought we would let it come; unfortunately, it not only choked the trees but failed to choke back weeds. We have fought a successful battle with it in the past few years by mowing and pulling, but our yard backs up to public open space that is unmaintained. English Ivy is invading from the public space and garlic mustard began cropping up last year. Can you recommend a few ground-covering plants that are native to the Virginia Piedmont and will choke out the invasives?

ANSWER:

We're afraid no native, shade-loving groundcovers will choke out English Ivy (Hedera helix) or Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata).  Determined, prolonged effort to remove the offending species from your land plus gaining the cooperation of your neighbors to make similar efforts on their land is really the only long-term solution.

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Hybrid Campsis radicans 'Madame Rosy' from Medina OH
July 07, 2012 - I have a Madame Rosy Campsis that is not blooming. We purchased and planted it last year, mid-summer and it did well for the remainder of the season but this year...nothing but green leaves........wh...
view the full question and answer

Advocacy of non-native plants.
December 10, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Instead of asking a question, I would like to comment on the seemingly discouraging tone on growing plants or trees out of their native habitat that I have observed from rea...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for replacing invasive privet in the Dallas area.
April 20, 2011 - We are removing invasive privet at a project. We will need to substitute native plants and would like to know how to find out which plants should be used. We are in the Dallas area. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Request for native grasses from Hillsboro TX
August 04, 2012 - P.S. I forgot to mention one very important fact: my neighbor specifically asked for "native grass" recommendations. He thought he was getting a native grass recommendation.
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of Polygonum punctatum (dotted smartweed)
July 28, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, After much online research, my property has been invaded by what I believe to be Persicaria polygonum punctata, more commonly known as dotted smartweed. I have tried hortic...
view the full question and answer

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