Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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?

Share

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

Monday - June 23, 2008

From: Paradise, CA
Region: California
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Plants to replace poison ivy and brush
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am right next to a highway in Paradise, CA 95969. I am having brush and poison oak removed in that area and want to plant something fast growing and draught resistant. I am thinking about Oleanders, but I have 2 little dogs. I don't think they would bother the Oleanders though as they don't chew on much except grass. Any ideas?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants would not recommend oleanders (Nerium oleander) since they are not native to California or North America (native to the Mediterranean area and Asia) and what we are all about is "to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes." Also, as you probably know, all parts of the plant are highly toxic.

Here are some recommendations for native substitutes:

Heteromeles arbutifolia (toyon) and more photos and information

Frangula californica (syn. Rhamnus californica) (California buckthorn or coffeeberry) and photos and more information

Rhamnus crocea (redberry buckthorn) and more photos and information

You could also use one of the California manzanitas (Arctostaphylos spp.)


Heteromeles arbutifolia

Rhamnus crocea

Arctostaphylos glandulosa

Arctostaphylos patula

 


 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Cutting back non-native oleanders affected by freeze in Austin
January 30, 2010 - After the last hard freeze makes my oleanders look dead. Can I cut them down to the ground this time of year?
view the full question and answer

Landscaping trees and shrubs non-toxic to dogs from Monticello FL
March 08, 2013 - We're landscaping and need advice on large and small evergreen trees and shrubs that are native to or will flourish in North Florida. We plan to put in a treeline (large and semi-large trees) as wel...
view the full question and answer

Safe grazing for donkeys and goats from Osteen FL
June 30, 2012 - I am having a very difficult time trying to find shrubs, hedges, plants, flowers, or trees etc. that are safe for donkeys and goats. We live in Zone 9 and have a small farm. I've had to pull every ...
view the full question and answer

Toxicity of catalpa wood?
June 05, 2012 - Is the sawdust from cutting up a catalpa tree or the smoke from burning the wood toxic? Thank you,
view the full question and answer

Is wild foxglove poisonous to dogs from Liberty TX
May 05, 2012 - Is penstemon cobaea (wild foxglove)poisonous to pets, specifically dogs. I was thinking about adding this to my native Texan wild flower section of my backyard.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.