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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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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

 

 

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