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

Saturday - May 02, 2009

From: Manteno, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Dead-appearing Royal Paulownia trees in Manteno, IL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Have two Royal Paulownia trees two years old.Last fall all leaves fell off. Have two eight foot toothpicks. This spring, nothing happening.Are they dead or will they come back? If they come back what can we expect? Can't figure where the branches will come from. Can you help?

ANSWER:

Please forgive us if we don't sympathize too much over the loss of your trees. See this excerpt from a previous question about the same tree, also coming from Illinois. 

"Paulownia tomentosa (royal princess tree), a native of China, is a member of the Family Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family). Mr. Smarty Plants considers it a weed!  Please note what Texas Invasives says about it: 

'Princess tree is an agressive ornamental tree that grows rapidly in disturbed natural areas including forests, streambanks, and steep rocky slopes.'  

It is also is listed in the Invasive Plant Atlas of New England, in the Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Working Group Least Wanted list and the Federal and State Noxious Weeds list."

At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are committed to the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America, but to the area in which the plants are being grown. We suspect that, since it is a native to temperate parts of Asia, your customary winter weather and temperatures very likely are the cause of its demise. Kankakee, in Northeastern Illinois, close to the lakeshore, is apparently in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5a to 5b, where the average annual minimum temperatures are -20 to -10 deg. F. Please dig them up before they try to make a comeback. May we suggest some alternatives, all native to Illinois, and NOT invasive?

Amelanchier arborea (common serviceberry)

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud)

Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Morus rubra (red mulberry)

Lindera benzoin (northern spicebush)

Sassafras albidum (sassafras)


Amelanchier arborea

Cercis canadensis

Cornus florida

Ilex opaca

Morus rubra

Lindera benzoin

Sassafras albidum

 

 

 

 

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Runaway Agave Americana from Pacific Palisades CA
April 29, 2013 - We live near open space on Santa Monica Mountain State Park. Our Association planted non-native, invasive Agave Americanas all over the adjacent slopes, and we are trying to get the exploding pups and...
view the full question and answer

Non-native invasive chickweed in Collegeville PA
December 31, 2011 - My problem is chickweed. I have found considerable information on how to eliminate the chickweed. My question is after following a suggested elimination process: How and when do I reseed with grass?...
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant plants for privacy from Larchmont NY
April 19, 2014 - Love your site! We have a 4'x4'x50' stone wall, full sun, with a planting bed 30"H by 24"D. We're looking for privacy, so a hedge with pruning is needed. We have looked at Ilex Crenata (8'),...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen replacement for bamboo in Redding CA
July 27, 2009 - We have just removed bamboo from our backyard and need to replace it with a plant that will give us the same type of privacy. What plant would you suggest to plant along a fence line that will surviv...
view the full question and answer

Dandelions in bluebonnets in Bastrop TX
May 31, 2012 - I have a 20'x60' front yard area where I planted bluebonnets. It has become horrifically inundated with dandelions. How do I eradicate the dandelions while preserving the bluebonnets ? Thanks ...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center