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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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Tuesday - April 22, 2014

From: Alpine, CA
Region: California
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Non-native invasive carrot wood tree losing leaves in Alpine CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My carrot wood tree is losing all of its leaves. The tree is about 15foot high & 13 years old. Could it be gophers? The tree was trimmed 1 year ago.

ANSWER:

From a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer:

"Carrot Wood Tree, Cupaniopsis anacardioides , is a native of Australia where it is called Tuckeroo (see images). It is considered an invasive species in the United States. Since the mission of the Lady Bird Johndon Wildflower Center os to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants, and landscapes, two things that Mr. Smarty Plants doesn't care much for are invasive, non-native plants. See these two links for more information: California, and Texas."

Be sure and follow the link to California in the line above to see what naturalists think of this plant. They would probably feel the gopher, if that is the problem, was welcome to eat all he wanted. Since it is non-native to North American, we know nothing about its culture. Just to be sure we have made our point, please read this article from the Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group LEAST WANTED on Carrotwood.


 

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September 29, 2007 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I had a look at your website in hope of finding information about the plant Crateeva asiatica. Could you kindly help me to locate the information for the same?
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Replacement for grass under non-native weeping willow from Yorba Linda CA
April 24, 2012 - What would be a good replacement for the grass currently growing under a weeping willow? Something requiring low maintenance, the problem is with mowing over and around the roots.
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September 14, 2012 - My passionate pink Gaura appears to be dying. It had a beautiful blooming period & now is going backwards. What is happening? I have pruned it, but don't know how to save it.
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June 03, 2008 - I recently visited a Lavender Farm just outside Gainseville Texas. I was hooked. However, when I started reading about growing Lavender I found that you should have well drained alkaline soil. Since...
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