En EspaÑol

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


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.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - June 25, 2008

From: Astoria, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: Planting, Propagation, Pruning, Transplants, Shrubs
Title: Buffaloberry from Grandma
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have a "BUFFALO BERRY" that my Grandma brought back from South Dakota.It is approx.8yrs.old.All was well until this spring.It was budding out when we had a very hard freeze and got 3" of snow.Now it seems to be frozen in time.If I scratch the bark,it is still green underneath.Do I cut it back, leave it alone or what? It is not native to this area that I am aware of but it does seem to like it here.


According to our Native Plant Database on Shepherdia canadensis (russet buffaloberry), it is, indeed, native to Oregon as well as South Dakota. We also found out that it tolerates the poorest of soils and is extremely cold and drought tolerant. So, I don't think your plant is dead, it's just sort of in shock. We would definitely recommend that you cut it back, treating it like transplant shock, removing 1/2 to 1/3 of the top area. Then make sure it gets a good deep drink of water every day or two, and it should begin to recover and put out some leaves. By the way, did you know that the buffaloberry was dioecious, meaning that both male and female bushes must be grown if fruit and seed is desired? However, it's really best propagated by cuttings, so maybe the seeds aren't so important.

Shepherdia canadensis

Shepherdia canadensis




More Shrubs Questions

What causes rock rose branches to snap off?
August 30, 2013 - my small texas rock rose branches keep snapping in the center. What is causing this and what can I do?
view the full question and answer

Shade Tolerant, Deer Resistant, Evergreen Hedge Suggestions for CT
April 30, 2013 - I think I am asking for a lot, but here we go… Is there a deer tolerant evergreen that can grow in the shade and create a hedge of 5 feet tall here in CT? I am not opposed to ivy covering a fence if t...
view the full question and answer

Lack of Blooms and Low Hanging Limbs on Mountain Laurels
August 06, 2014 - My mountain laurel didn't bloom this year but has a few hard pods on it. It is 9 ft tall but very top heavy with most growth low. I need to prune it a lot at the bottom because it has branches hangi...
view the full question and answer

New nursery plants with sappy spots from Round Rock, TX
September 09, 2012 - We live on the west side of RR, near Cedar Park and recently bought three 15 gallon cherry laurels from a nursery. Started to plant them today as we bought them a week ago and noticed base of the trun...
view the full question and answer

Shallow topsoil on rocky substrate in SW Oregon
April 28, 2009 - I want to plants some shrubs and trees. Trouble is I can't plant very deep. I have mostly rock within 5 inches. Please help.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center