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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 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 - April 06, 2007

From: Corpus Christi, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Turf
Title: Removal of chickweed from lawns
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

How do I get Cerastium arvense L. - field chickweed out of my lawn? How can I kill them without hurting my grass? I don't have a clue as to how they got into my lawn, but my lawn is the only one on the block that has these white flower weeds, both front and back yard!

ANSWER:

Fortunately, chickweed can be mechanically removed by hand weeding, cultivatiion, and mulching. If established, it is best to pull them up from the ground with their roots. Be sure to properly dispose of the material in bags to keep it from proliferating. When mowing, bag your clippings to prevent seed from spreading. Also, chickweed tends to thrive in moist areas so good drainage can help prevent its growth. Herbicides should only be used for a very large infestation. A number of herbicides kill broadleaved weeds (like chickweed) without harming grasses. Be cautious. Broadleaf weed killers work on all broadleaved plants, so take care when spraying around trees, shrubs and flowers. Mr. Smarty Plants is not in the business of recommending herbicides but you can Google broadleaf weeds if you decide to go that route.
 

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