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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

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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Sunday - October 14, 2007

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Chinaberry trees coming up volunteer
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have several chinaberry trees that have sprouted after my neighbor trimmed his tree. I have cut these trees down to the ground a couple of times, but they just send out new shoots. Any idea on how to get rid of them forever?

ANSWER:

The Chinaberry (Melia azedarach) is a deciduous tree in the mahogany family, native to India, southern China and Australia. They are considered to be invasive, as they spread quickly and crowd out native trees and other plants. The birds eat the berries, and love to plant new trees wherever they go. They have been widely planted in Central Texas as shade trees resistant to drought and having some fall color. The only sure way to get rid of one is to take it out, roots and all. If the trees on your property are still small enough, it would be worth your while to try to dig out or pull out the roots now. And watch for new sprouts, getting them out while it's still just a matter of giving it a good yank. If the trees already in your yard are too big to grub out, cut them down as far as you can, and then paint the cut trunk with a product specific to that purpose.
 

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