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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 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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Monday - June 13, 2005

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Trees
Title: Black walnut herbivory
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

We moved to Texas just about a year ago and have loved it here. This past January we visited the Wildflower Center and obtained some black walnut seeds. Up until last night the tree was doing well planted in our temporary five gallon bucket. Yet, I discovered this morning that something has nearly chewed off the entire tree from its roots. We also 'had' flowers in a hanging pot that have also met their demise. What has been eating our tree and plants?

ANSWER:

The most likely culprits are squirrels or rats. Both of them are great chewers and both could gain access to hanging pots as well as the walnut tree in the bucket. Deer are a possibility for the hanging pot if it isn't hanging too high, but not for the walnut. They might nibble on the leaves, but would be very unlikely to chew through the stem of the walnut.

 

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