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

Wednesday - July 23, 2008

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

QUESTION:

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

ANSWER:

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

Dying trees in San Marcos, Texas
September 24, 2011 - I live on 11 acres in San Marcos and cannot water at all during this drought. All of my oaks and mountain laurels are turning brown. Does this mean they are all dying? Will they come back in the sp...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Mexican Monterrey Oak in Killeen, TX
September 02, 2009 - I planted a Mexican/Monterrey White Oak in September of 2008. It was about 10 ft tall and about 1 1/4 inches in diameter at the bottom. I kept it watered over the winter and spring and of course, ve...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Saucer Magnolia in Eatontown, NJ.
January 12, 2013 - Adult Saucer Magnolia (tulip tree). Branches were getting heavy to where they were ready to break. I pruned them back leaving 1 to 3 inch diameter cuts on many branches. Should I put something on th...
view the full question and answer

Distance from existing structures for live oak
April 18, 2009 - How close to your house slab, driveway and footpaths should you plant live oaks so as to avoid in the future damage from roots, falling branches, etc?
view the full question and answer

Replacing mature Arizona Ash trees in Austin
August 26, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I have 2 very large, very old Arizona Ash trees in my yard. I want to remove them and replace them with something like Cedar Elm or Chinquapin Oak. The problem is that they are t...
view the full question and answer

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