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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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Monday - February 24, 2014

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Seasonal Tasks, Shrubs
Title: Spring care for Garrya ovata from Pflugerville, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello again, Mr. S-P, I planted a Mexican silktassel in April 2012 (purchased at the WFC). It has done well, but the leaves are bronzed and splotchy from this winter's freezes. All the stems are alive. Should I do anything to help the plant, such as trimming it back a bit, or will it simply drop its leaves and grow new ones? It's about 3 feet tall.

ANSWER:

Follow this plant link, Garrya ovata (Eggleaf silktassel), to our webpage on this plant to check that the plant is in sun (6 hours or more of sun a day) or part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun). It will be okay in part shade but will bloom better and be more bushy in full sun. Here is another article from the Texas A&M Texas Native Plant Database on Silktassel.

This USDA Plant Profile Map shows that it is native to our part of Central Texas, but you knew that, of course, because the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Plant Sales only sell plants that are native to Central Texas. Our take on pruning is that this is a very young specimen and sounds like it is doing well. Since this tree is evergreen, it probably would be better to let the few yellowing leaves drop off naturally, and wait another season before thinking about a little pruning for shape. We are always glad to hear about our "babies" after they leave the Plant Sales.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eggleaf silktassel
Garrya ovata

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