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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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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

 


 

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