En EspaŅol

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 - July 23, 2008

From: Griffin, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Controlling native chickasaw plum
Answered by: Barbara Medford


How do we kill the chickasaw plum? We have an abundance and want to get rid of them.


Gee, we kind of hate to see you do that. Prunus angustifolia (Chickasaw plum) is a nice shrub or small tree, with edible fruit that makes good jam and jellies. See this USDA Forest Service Chickasaw Plum for more information. It can become invasive, as you have apparently learned, because of the fruit drop, reseeding itself. It has lovely spring flowers and attracts birds; but, again, those birds eat the fruit, and drop the seed, propagating the plant again. And, of course, there are those thorn-like side branches.

However, you know what you need to do with your own property better than we do. Just like most garden jobs, there is no quick and easy way to do this. We found this website from Ohio State University Extension on Controlling Undesirable Trees. The best and most thorough way is to dig up the plant. This is probably more labor intensive than what you had in mind, but in the case of smaller shrubs, it will prevent further fruiting that will spread the plant. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center neither recommends for nor against use of herbicides; however, it is sometimes necessary for certain purposes. From several sources, we gathered the information that the best thing is to cut the tree down, as close to the ground as possible, preferably in summer. Within 5 minutes, the cut surfaces should be treated with the appropriate herbicide. You could spray the herbicide, but if you are concerned about drift from wind, use a disposable paint brush and brush it thoroughly. Be very careful about getting the herbicide in the soil, as you don't want to poison it for more desirable plants in the future. At some point, depending on the future use of the land, you will probably want to come back and grub out the roots and stump.


More Trees Questions

Native Tree for Narrow Space in PA
October 04, 2015 - I have a narrow space along my cedar fence in full sun. A Japanese maple approximately 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide is failing there due to winter rodent damage to its base. I would like to replace i...
view the full question and answer

Leaf fall from Cedar Elm planted in clay
August 17, 2008 - I saw the answer to leaves falling off a cedar elm planted in clay. However I planted a Cedar Elm in my back yard. I dug a hole in the grass then planted and put grass back on top. I water every other...
view the full question and answer

Native tree for San Diego, California
September 19, 2010 - I have conflicting info about the Mayten tree. Pro: recommended patio tree, medium water needs, does not drop seed or leaves. Con: broadly invasive suckers, messy drop. I am in San Diego, Californ...
view the full question and answer

Impenetrable privacy hedge in Wimberly, TX.
July 26, 2011 - I live near Wimberly, TX. I'd like to grow an impenetrable privacy hedge about 200' long and at least 10' tall and 10' deep (or more) using native plants. I'd like it to be evergreen, drought t...
view the full question and answer

Arborvitae for house plant from Austin
August 15, 2013 - I am a Northerner transplanted to Austin, TX. While I love Austin it feels like many of the plants & trees I came to love up north won't grow here at all. Could I grow an arborvitae in my home as a...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center