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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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Tuesday - January 04, 2005

From: Pearland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Turf
Title: Elimination of bermuda grass from St. Augustine lawn
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr.Smarty Plants, I am so frustrated with the bermuda grass mixed with St. Augustine grass. I have tried Ortho-B-gone but it did not work. Is there any measure to kill the Bermuda grass but not to harm St.Augustine grass? Secondly, is there any web site that show me what kind of plants and flowers can be legally planted in southeast Houston?

ANSWER:

The bad news is that bermuda grass is difficult to control and there is no chemical magic that will kill bermuda without harming the St. Augustine as well. One non-chemical measure you can take to encourage the St. Augustine and discourage the bermuda is to set your mower blade level to a high, e.g., 3 -3 1/2 inches. The taller growing St. Augustine will shade the bermuda and will then have an advantage over the bermuda grass which thrives best in the sun. There is an excellent article about St. Augustine grass written by Dr. Richard L. Duble, Turfgrass Specialist with the Texas Cooperative Extension. Dr. Duble offers some suggestions for control but he agrees that bermuda grass is very difficult to control in St. Augustine. If you have bermuda grass growing in your flower beds, there are chemical ways to control bermuda there without harming plants other than grasses. You can read what a local Houston gardener has to say about controlling bermuda grass.

At the top of the list of illegal plants for Texas is marijuana, (Cannabis sativa). Possession of any amount of this plant, processed or still growing, is punishable by a hefty fine and/or jail sentence--the larger the amount in possession, the greater the punishment! Texas law also lists thirteen illegal aquatic plants that carry a legal penalty for possession. You can download a PDF file about invasive species of Texas and see a list of plant species, as well as animal species, considered by the Union of Concerned Scientists to be invasives. These aren't all necessarily illegal but should be discouraged from cultivation.
 

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