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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 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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Tuesday - March 19, 2013

From: Buda, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Problem Plants, Turf
Title: How to control Yellow Woodsorrel in Habiturf?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Last year we planted Habiturf in our front lawn and prepared the ground as directed with organic compost. This year we have an infestation of low growing yellow oxalis which we believe came in with the compost as we have not had this before. What do you recommend as a control? as weeding will not get all of it and the areas are large. We are considering using an herbicide knowing it will knock out our grass but then we will reseed.

ANSWER:

Yellow Wood Sorrel, Oxalis stricta, and Slender Yellow Wood Sorrel, Oxalis dillenii, both North American natives, are often unwanted visitors in lawns, especially newly-establish or unhealthy lawns.  As your lawn matures and develops a denser stand of grass, broadleaf weeds like Wood Sorrel will be less of an issue.  Promoting healthy grass growth will eventually pay off in reduced weed infestation.

There are broadleaf herbicides labeled for use on oxalis.  These chemicals are specific to dicot weeds and will not kill grasses and other monocots if used properly.  We take neither a pro nor con stance on garden chemicals, but only urge those choosing to use them to do so in a manner that is safest for them and the environment and to strictly adhere to label directions.

Other than hand weeding, we know of no effective organic control for Oxalis species.

 

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