Weatherford Democrat

March 16, 2014

ASK A MASTER GARDENER: Emerging bluebonnets

Weatherford Democrat

Here are this week’s gardening questions and answers, provided by Parker County Master Gardeners. To submit a question, send it to For more information about Parker County Master Gardeners, or to become a member, call 817-598-6096 or visit

I planted bluebonnets last fall. When should I expect to see them?

Despite this cold winter, bluebonnets have germinated. They are now about 4 inches in diameter and an inch or two high. They can be recognized by the flat appearance at this stage and oval leaves.

They should start to grow once the weather begins to warm up, and you should have blooms by mid-April. However, do not be discouraged if yours do not sprout this year. It can take up to five years for the seed to germinate.

I have this weed that puts out runners that grab on to my clothes when they touch it. What is it, and how do I get rid of it?

This sounds like sticktight (gallium aparine), also called sticky Willy, or the velcro plant. It creeps along the ground and over the tops of other plants, attaching to them with small hooked hairs growing out of the stems and leaves.

The stems can reach up to 3 feet in length. The best way to control it is simply to remove the plants before they flower and produce viable seed. It can be removed by hand hoeing or weed pulling. This is best done in the early spring when the soil is moist. Installing and maintaining mulch also helps and eases the removal of plants that do become established.

Cutting it back to 2-3 inches is generally not effective and will actually cause increased growth. It will die out once the hot summer arrives. While chemical controls are generally not recommended, it can be controlled with post-emergent herbicides such as oxyfluorfen, glyphosate, quinclorac or diclobenil.

Did you know?

Now is the perfect time to install drip irrigation in your landscape beds while most everything is dormant. Drip irrigation is a very effective way to water plants. It is not subject to the Stage 2 water restrictions we will likely see this summer.

It is easy for a homeowner to do. Stop by any of our local hardware stores or nurseries and get a starter kit, or drop by the extension office and see the demonstration bed there. You may also attend our plant sale on April 12, where we will demonstrate the process.