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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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Friday - May 30, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Fraxinus cuspidata (Fragrant Ash)
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Two part question: 1) Will fragrant (flowering; Fraxinus cuspidata) ash survive in Zone 7b? 2) Where can I get it?

ANSWER:

We see no reason why Fraxinus cuspidata (fragrant ash) would not grow in the Austin area. Its native distribution is in the Trans-Pecos Mountains of Texas and West Texas to Arizona and adjacent Mexico. The tree is being cultivated in the Blackland Prairie of Texas and its USDA hardiness zone is Zone 7. Here is a Texas A&M Horticulture site with further information on the tree and a page of images of Fraxinus species, including cuspidata.

On Question 2, go to our Suppliers section, type the name of your city and state in the Enter Search Location box, and it will give you a list of nurseries and seed suppliers in your general area. We urge you not to plant a tree this time of year; in fact, not to even buy it if it will have to stand in a can for several months. Particularly in this very hot part of the country, woody plants should go into the ground as quickly as possible in late Fall, when they are more or less dormant. If you can find one and feel you must plant it now, plant it in the late afternoon to take advantage of the cooler night. Then, stick a hose down in the dirt around the tree, and let water trickle in slowly until it appears on the surface of the soil. Do this every day and then every other day, probably for several weeks, to try to prevent transplant shock.

 

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