Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

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

Tuesday - December 16, 2008

From: Montgomery, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Ways of eliminating smilax bona-nox
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How can I get rid of "smilax bona" or green briar vines besides digging them up one by one? I have been told by Harris County Ext. Office to just mow them.. Ha Ha Good luck with that. Is there any herbicide available to get rid of them more quickly and easily?

ANSWER:

If it's any comfort to you, Smilax bona-nox (saw greenbrier) has been the bane of gardener's existence for a very long time. Smilax makes a thick, hardened root in which it stores water and nutrients. Hand pulling Cat-brier usually only breaks off the top-growth which the root quickly replaces. Dig and destroy these root storage organs and you will destroy the plant. This is never easy and is often impractical or impossible. Cutting new growth a few inches above the soil and painting the remaining stub with an herbicide labeled for that purpose is the most common control method.

Unfortunately, persistance is also required, there is no quick fix. This plant has long, large underground root systems to tubers that can be as big as a potato. Getting to that with herbicide is very difficult. However, speaking from experience, we moved onto a property that had been farm land with large oaks that were infested with the briers. Over a period of years, just digging them out, cutting them off, a certain amount of cursing, we did finally eradicate them.


Smilax bona-nox

Smilax bona-nox

 

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Identification of plant with light orange fruit
November 03, 2011 - Trying to identify a small, light orange, oval shaped fruit,light yellow/beige inside, many seeds, vine w/briars, behind an outbuilding in McNeill, MS. tks
view the full question and answer

Removal of invasive non-native Chinese wisteria
September 10, 2007 - I am going to be removing my ubiquitous chinese wisteria very soon (the method I'm going to use is undetermined). If I decide to use Round-up on the cut-stem (which may take more than one application...
view the full question and answer

Non-native eleagnus from Jesup GA
January 17, 2014 - An elderly farmer has told me about a plant called Alley Agnes, but I can't find any plant by this name anywhere. He doesn't know another name for it, says it's what everyone has always called it i...
view the full question and answer

Toxicity and invasiveness of Scarlet Wisteria
May 04, 2007 - I recently purchased seeds for Scarlet Wisteria (Chinese rattlebox tree). I spoke to a neighbor about this and she warned me not to plant them as they were poisonous to hummingbirds. Can you clarify...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of tree in North Carolina
September 07, 2011 - I live in North Carolina have found a tree on our property that has thorny branches and round fruit (perfectly round) with a fuzzy outer layer that starts out green but then turns yellow. The inside r...
view the full question and answer

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