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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 - September 24, 2010

From: Victoria, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Large weed removal in Victoria VA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a weed problem. Along my house and garage are several weeds that have grown to small-tree size. I plan to rip them out of the ground as soon as it cools off, but I've done this before and they always come back. I'm committed to not using chemicals, but what else can I do to keep those weeds from coming back? Thanks! p.s. -- I live in southern Virginia, zone 7

ANSWER:

We would say the first mistake you made was letting those weeds get that big! Whatever they are, if they are as big as a tree, you are way behind the curve. Learn to recognize what the seedlings look like, and rip them out before they get so big. They probably germinate or come up from suckers, depending on what plant it is, and emerge in the Spring. It is also cool enough to work in the garden then, and much easier.

We would suggest you contact the Lunenburg County Extension Office to see if they can tell you what the plant is. If it is an annual, your first priority is to keep it from seeding, and then pull out the seedlings as soon as they emerge. Seedlings can wait their turn in the soil for a long time, so this will be a continuing process. If is a perennial, coming up from roots every year, then you need both to get those roots out of the ground AND prevent seeding.

 

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