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

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!

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 Propagation Questions

Smarty Plants on dutchmans pipe
July 24, 2005 - How do I care for and transplant dutchman pipe?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Texas bluebells from seed
July 29, 2008 - I have a few Texas Bluebell seeds. I would like to grow these in my yard. What would be the best place..pot or flower bed? When should I plant? How to maintain?
view the full question and answer

My Niagara grape cutting is not growing; be patient
May 19, 2008 - Hello. I live in a city about 10 miles from Chicago IL. I like grapes they are my favorate fruit to just eat. I bought a niagara grape plant that was a cutting (it looked like nothing more then a st...
view the full question and answer

Will hand pollination of red plum tree result in fruits?
February 24, 2014 - Red Plum is blooming but no bees to pollinate & no associate plum trees near by. Can flowers be pollinated by hand with q-tip?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Chandler's craglily from San Marcos TX
December 16, 2012 - Can you please advise me on collecting and propagating seed from Chandlerís craglily -Echeandia chandleri. I have 2 plants that came from the wildflower center. They never seem to multiply, but they d...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center