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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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Monday - July 27, 2009

From: Salt Lake City, UT
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Trees
Title: Replacement for a globe willow tree
Answered by: Jackie OKeefe and Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We are interested in replacing a pine tree with a globe willow because they grow fast but everything i have been reading about them scares me. is there another tree comparable to a globe willow that grows as fast with less bugs and disease?

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center researches and teaches about our native species, working to promote their use and re-establishment in their ancestral native ranges. Since Salix matsudana (globe willow or corkscrew willow) is a native of China, it is outside our sphere of expertise, but we'll give you some native options to explore as alternatives. Natives planted in their preferred habitat are suited to their local growing conditions, and perform to their optimum.

There is a previous query about the tree you are considering, Salix matsudana (globe willow). Follow this link to read the earlier answer. As you have found in your reading, Globe Willow is fast-growing and has attractively-colored foliage, but suffers a variety of problems from weak limbs and short life span to pests and disease.

Here are some native alternatives:

Fraxinus pennsylvanica (green ash) and more information and photos

Acer grandidentatum (bigtooth maple) and more information and photos

Populus angustifolia (narrowleaf cottonwood) and more information and photos

Chilopsis linearis (desert willow) and more information and photos

Ptelea trifoliata (common hoptree) and more information and photos

Diospyros virginiana (common persimmon) and more information and photos


Fraxinus pennsylvanica

Acer grandidentatum

Populus angustifolia

Chilopsis linearis

Ptelea trifoliata

Diospyros virginiana

 


 

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