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

Monday - April 16, 2012

From: Brownstown, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Edible Plants, Groundcovers
Title: Help with control of small, invasive groundcover
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a very invasive ground cover creeping into my yard. I've tried to identify it and it's similar to creeping charlie or garlic mustard. Leaves are triangular with jagged edges, small purple flowers. It grows in clumps in the lawn and in the soil. Doesn't seem to have much of a smell, not minty or garlicky, just smells like dirt! I think I may have figured it out. Possibly purple dead nettle. I also see that it is edible?? Well, I'm not sure I'm going to be putting it in my smoothies, but I'd still like to know how to control it. Neighbors yard is full of it! Thanks again for you time! Can you help me with control. It wants to invade my vegetable garden! Thanks so much!

ANSWER:

Your description does sound like Lamium purpureum (Purple dead-nettle), a Eurasian native that is listed as an invasive weed.   Here are more photos and information from the Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide.

Suggestions for its control from Michigan State University, Clemson University, Turf Grass Science from the University of Tennessee and GardenGuides.com include application of herbicides, hand pulling, tilling and preventing it from setting seed by keeping it mown to a level that removes the flowers and developing seeds.  Michigan State University Weed Science article suggest that tilling it under will control it.  All of the articles suggest herbicides and there is an excellent table listing herbicides, their properties and cautions and instructions on their use in the University of Tennessee article.

According to Nature's Herbal, it is edible.  Maybe if you try and like those smoothies, you could control it that way—by eating it!

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Native replacement for non-native Bermudagrass in Leander TX
October 16, 2011 - We have Bermuda grass. Large patches have died due to the drought and our yard has been taken over by weeds and St. Augustine grass whose seeds must have blown in. Even when the grass was in great con...
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of invasive Florida betony from Myrtle Beach SC
April 28, 2012 - How can I get rid of Florida Betony from my lawn and flower beds/ garden area. Garden area was thoroughly dug up and hand picked of all tubules last year at least a foot deep. They are much worse now....
view the full question and answer

Does Acacia farnesiana (Huisache) have agressive roots?
November 30, 2014 - Hello, Do you know if the Huisache tree has an aggressive root system? I have a few in proximity to my septic draining field and I need to know if I should cut them down to prevent clogging of t...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID of invasive vine from Austin
August 21, 2013 - A friend lives in southwest Austin and has a vine that's coming up all over her yard. I am a Williamson County Master Gardener and have asked all the garden gurus in my group what it is from a photo ...
view the full question and answer

Reply on Carolina Jasmine from San Antonio
March 06, 2009 - Thank you for your prompt reply to my question from San Antonio about removal of Carolina Jasmine. Just one note. In the "rate this answer" section my cursor dropped. I meant to give you four stars....
view the full question and answer

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