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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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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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Wednesday - June 25, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Container Gardens, Trees
Title: Disappearing oranges from Satsuma orange in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I had many tiny future oranges on my Satsuma Orange Tree until a few days ago. Suddenly, all were gone except one. They weren't on the ground and the tree itself seems incredibly healthy. It is grown in a very large container in sunniest spot in my yard. Do you know what may have happened to all my oranges?

ANSWER:

Sudden fruit drop on an otherwise healthy tree would result in fruit lying on the ground. Animal nibbling would result in nibbled fruit on the ground. One orange left when all the others are gone is a clue. Conclusion of this amateur sleuth: someone has scarpered with your little oranges. It's hard to imagine why-they can't possibly have been big enough to use in a salad, they're not ready to be harvested for seeds, and they are not anything a pawn broker would be interested in. Possibly they are being used for a table decoration, or maybe there was a scavenger hunt for which miniature oranges earned extra points. This is a very sad commentary, if true, on ignoring property rights or abusing an attempt to beautify the area. We found nothing in our research that indicated Satsuma oranges ever spontaneously evaporated.

 

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