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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

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 - August 20, 2008

From: Ellaville , GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Evergreen shrubs as dust barrier in Georgia
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Plants, I live on a dirt road in West Central Georgia. Could you recommend a fast growing, low maintenance evergreen shrub or small tree (that will not harm my horses or goats) that will form a barrier to block the dust from the dirt road? I have about 15 feet of space between the fence and the road.

ANSWER:

The dual needs of being evergreen and being non-toxic to horses and goats limited the choice pretty sharply. We found two shrubs that filled these requirements and one tree that could be left untrimmed at the base to help with the dust shelter. We have chosen plants native to Georgia, because they will be well-adapted to the environment, requiring less water, fertilizer and maintenance.

Gordonia lasianthus (loblolly bay)  

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)

Magnolia grandiflora (southern magnolia)

None of these plants appeared on the following poisonous plant databases:

Poisonous Plants of Georgia

Cornell University Poisonous Plants Informational Database

University of Pennsylvania's Poisonous Plants Database

Texas Toxic Plants Database

One more caution on the plants you are considering. It sounds like they will be out in the country, probably without access to watering. Don't try to plant them until late Winter, when woody plants are most dormant. Even then, the new little plants are going to need some water and some attention. Hopefully, it will be rainy in Georgia then, and you won't have to make special arrangements; however, have alternative plans in place in case you hit a dry Winter.

 

From the Image Gallery


Gordonia
Gordonia lasianthus

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

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