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

Wednesday - April 04, 2012

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Planting, Grasses or Grass-like, Wildflowers
Title: Replacing non-native invasives with native grasses and wildflowers from Round Rock TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a small piece of property (1.5 AC) East of Austin, Texas that get's overgrown with weedy vegetation (johnson grass, dandelion, and some tall yellow flowering plant that I see all over the medians and right of ways). It is also partially shaded, but can certainly get 6 hours / day of sun. Is it possible to overseed with native grasses like buffalo and blue grama or does the weedy vegetation need to be removed to successfully replace with the native grasses?

ANSWER:

Would that it were that easy. Unfortunately, newly seeded native grasses need weeding, watering and soil preparation before they can prosper. The yellow, flowering plant you are seeing is Bastard Cabbage, which has been much in the news lately. If you possibly can, dig or pull it out. It can, of course, be mowed, but that would eliminate the seeding phase of the wildflowers and grasses you want to encourage. And, if you mow bastard cabbage, it will pop right back up, run along the ground and quickly get some fresh flowers to produce seed. What you want to do is prevent it seeding, of course, and pulling out root and all is the only way to do that, and you will still get seeds blowing iin from other properties.

First, a newsclip from one of the Austin tv stations on bastard cabbage, because anyone who can lay their hands on it needs to do just that, and cause a whole lot of damage to the plant. Otherwise, the rest of our answer is useless.

How-To Articles:

Native Lawns: Buffalo Grass.

Meadow Gardening

Recreating a Prairie

 

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Information about ice plant (Carpobrotus edulis)
May 06, 2008 - I recently planted some Carpobrotus edulis, Ice plant, and wanted to know if I can mulch or put stones around the entire garden and plants. They are a ground cover plant.
view the full question and answer

Edibility of native and non-native wild onions
July 07, 2006 - I'd like to know if the seeds of the wild onions found in southeastern Pennsylvania (possibly called Allium ascalonicum) are edible at all- these are the seeds that grow on top of the stalk, after ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for southwest exposure in Tulsa OK
April 24, 2008 - I want to plant something in a bed on the South side of my house with some Western exposure. The space is in a bed that would share space with a Red Tip Photinia (next to the house)& liriope( on the ...
view the full question and answer

Clearing out non-native Himalayan blackberry
January 25, 2009 - Can you recommend a way to clear an area of Himalayan blackberry? We have cut the canes back but wish to eliminate them completely so that we can replant that area with native plants attractive to wil...
view the full question and answer

Removing a hackberry stump from a non-native fig tree
April 02, 2008 - I have a fig tree that is at least 50 years old. A hackberry tree is growing up through the fig. I have cut it back several times (it is probably 3 inches in diameter at ground level), but have been...
view the full question and answer

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