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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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Friday - June 05, 2015

From: Parker, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Problem Plants
Title: Controlling Devil's Bit in Collin County, TX
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in Collin County and our pasture has a growing section of Devils Bit taking over everything. I've been using 2,4-D on it with some success. What is the best method of control for this demon weed?

ANSWER:

We think you're referring to Sucissa pratensis.  We were a bit surprised to hear of it being in Collin County, Texas until we remembered answering a related question from Plano, Texas in 2013.  The news you bring is not good.

Previously, this Eurasian native's invasion of North America has been largely limited to New England.  We suspect that someone brought the plant to Texas for horticultural reasons and now you and others are left trying stop its spread.  We encourage you in the strongest terms to make every effort to eradicate it before the problem gets out of hand.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center encourages everyone to use the least toxic means necessary to control weeds and pests.  Hoeing, pulling or hand-rogueing are often adequate and preferred control methods.  Of course, we realize that chemical controls are sometimes necessary and may actually be safer for humans and the enviroment than non-chemical methods.  But, we are not experts on the use of herbicides and other chemical controls.

We encourage you to visit with your county's AgriLife Extension Service agent and stress how important it is to you and to the State of Texas that this nascent problem be eliminated before it becomes a much larger and impossible problem in the future.  Your County Agent should be able to give you very specific recommendations for addressing the problem and eradicating your "demon weed."

Finally, please encourage your neighbors to also take whatever measures are necessary to eliminate Devil's Bit from their property.

 

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