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?

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
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

Thursday - March 05, 2009

From: Marble Falls, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Poisonous Plants, Trees
Title: Can hackberry twigs and leaves be safely used in compost?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

If Hackberry trees and leaves have growth inhibiting compounds, should they not be used in compost piles?

ANSWER:

The point of emitting those growth-inhibiting compounds is to protect the area around the tree from competition. When the leaves have fallen or branches have been trimmed, they are dead, and no longer have the power to emit the substances, nor the reason to do so. There are some plants that have toxic parts, or the whole plant is toxic to some degree, such as Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) and Taxus canadensis (Canada yew). Even dead and dried up, such plants should not go into compost, nor should Toxicodendron radicans (eastern poison ivy) because the residual oils are not destroyed by the composting process.  Many other plants, including oaks, black walnuts, and pecans have this same self-protective ability and, from personal experience, make very fine compost. This article, Compost Notes by Ken Roberts, will give you some more insight on what should and should not go into your compost pile.

 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Evergreen pet-safe shrubs for house and screening in McKinney TX
April 15, 2010 - Looking for shrub, preferably evergreen, to plant near the house that can handle wet ground and is pet (dog, cat, horse) safe. The area became boggy after we had an underground water leak that is now ...
view the full question and answer

Laws pertaining to sale of poisonous plants
May 05, 2009 - Are there any laws pertaining to the sale of poisonous plants. do they have to be labeled as poisonous by law?
view the full question and answer

Are globe mallows (Sphaeralcea spp.) harmful to dogs
May 20, 2010 - My dogs eat the wild globe mallow plants in my yard. Could that be harmful to them?
view the full question and answer

Plant with dark black/purple berries in a cluster
November 06, 2012 - Today at our local dog park we noticed a bush/vine that's been growing up the fence is producing berries. It didn't flower at all. The berries look to have started out green and now are changing t...
view the full question and answer

Food for a veiled chameleon in Columbus GA
May 20, 2011 - Hi I own a Veiled Chameleon, and have been recently searching for different options as to live plant use for their cage. It has pretty much come down to using hibiscus plants and only hibicus plants. ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center