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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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Sunday - June 14, 2009

From: Eagle Pass, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native Chinese pistache in Eagle Pass, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi Mr Smarty Plants!! I just bought a young chinese pistache tree, is no bigger than 7 feet. I've never had one of these trees before, I'm about to plant it and I would also like to fertilize it right away. But I'd like to know if there is any specific times of the year when I should fertilize it, or would it still have effect if I fertilize it during this month of July. Also, I would like to know if there's any care I should give it the first couple of weeks that I had just planted it, giving it that the heat has been very high ( Today 104 F ). Thanks for your help!!!

ANSWER:

Pistacia chinense is native to China, Taiwan and the Philippines, and therefore out of our range of expertise.  The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Here is a website from the USDA Forest Service which might give you some information you need. 

However, while we have your attention, may we give you a couple of reasons why we would be happy if you replaced your tree with something native? First, read this Texas Invasives.org Plant Detail Page on Pistacia chinense. Then, check out Dave's Garden Forum on Chinese Pistache. There are two very negative opinions about the tree, one from Texas.

 

 

 

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