Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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 Planting Questions

Fall Flower Planting in Abilene, TX
October 14, 2014 - Are there any flowers that can be planted in the fall in Abilene Texas?
view the full question and answer

Need name of company with experience in Habiturf installation in Round Rock, TX.
January 24, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I read the article about "NATIVE LAWNS: HABITURF™ A MULTI-SPECIES MIX FOR NORTH, WEST AND CENTRAL TEXAS" Do you know any landscape companies/groups in Austin - Round Ro...
view the full question and answer

Hankering for a view-blocking hedge in Hempstead, TX.
July 03, 2013 - Hempstead is 50 miles west of Houston and I am looking for a fast growing native to provide a block of a view for a fairly large area (about half a block). I would prefer something that is also benef...
view the full question and answer

White fuzz on pine tree bark in Dartmouth MA
July 13, 2010 - We have white fuzz on our pine tree bark?
view the full question and answer

Freeze-resistant palms for Central Texas
November 09, 2012 - I live in Lytton Springs just north of Lockhart. What is a good hardy palm that I can get that will grow without the worry of freeze?
view the full question and answer

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