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 - May 16, 2012

From: Sacramento, CA
Region: California
Topic: Invasive Plants, Problem Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Eliminating ragweed in Sacramento CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Rag weed. How to be rid of it! My wife and lots of others that live in this part of Sacramento suffer greatly.

ANSWER:

If we had the final answer to that one, we would not be volunteering at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; we would be making a zillion dollars selling the "cure" to everyone allergic to ragweed, which is virtually everyone. Then, we would donate a lot of money to the Wildflower Center. Alas, it is not to be.

Sadly, Ambrosia artemisiifolia (Annual ragweed) is native to all over North America, so it doesn't seem there is anywhere to hide. This article on Common Ragweed from Illinois Wildflowers seems to say it all. You can follow the plant link to our webpage on the plant to learn when it blooms and how it spreads and pollinates. It is, obviously, the pollen that causes all the problems.

Since it is absolutely necessary that you breathe, we recommend that you seek medical help in treating the symptoms, as there is no way to keep the stuff out of the air. And avoid long walks on the prairie, that's just asking for it. There are antihistamines that should at least help to alleviate the symptoms, but that's about all we have to offer.

Pictures of Ambrosia artemisiifolia (Annual ragweed)

 

More Problem Plants Questions

Controlling Cnidoscolus texanus (Texas bullnettle)
July 18, 2013 - Hello,I need your help to control some nasty weeds in my yard/pasture. I am an old timer and do not have a picture to include—haven't figured out that part of the camera/phone yet. This weed is a pri...
view the full question and answer

Is Robinia pseudoaccia a good replacement tree for Shumard oaks in Austin TX?
February 27, 2013 - Recently two of our Shumard trees in the front of our house died. Both trees were small/medium in size having only been growing for 13-17 years. I've been reading about Black Locust trees which accor...
view the full question and answer

Containing roots in Kaysville UT
October 26, 2009 - I'm planting my yard in all native Rocky Mountain and Great Basin plants. Is there a way to halt or contain the root propagation of Smooth Leaf Sumac and Quaking Aspen? I've considered digging dow...
view the full question and answer

Invasive native wild onions in East Granby CT
May 17, 2011 - I have wild onions which have become extremely invasive. I have no idea how to get rid of them, and this year they seem to have taken over my entire flower bed. I tried pulling the bulbs out for sever...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating dogbane from transplanted milkweed in Franklin Lakes NJ
May 10, 2010 - We transplanted milkweed from the wild into our garden. Included in the clump of milkweed was dogbane. We weren't aware of how invasive dogbane is. We've has some success in digging it out but we'...
view the full question and answer

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