En Español

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?


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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - June 25, 2009

From: Simi Valley, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native carrotwood tree in Simi Valley CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford


We have a beautiful 40+ foot carrotwood tree that has been covered with small nut-like pods growing in bunches. They are a mess. Is there a spray that controls/eliminates this problem?


You don't need a spray, you need a hatchet. Quick, quick, get that tree out of your landscape and your life. Those nut-like pods are seeds, incredibly messy, as you already know, and they are being eaten by birds, who then sow them wherever, they will lie on the ground and kill your grass, and the tree itself is an invasive weed. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are devoted to promoting plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. This plant is the poster child for invasive non-natives. It originated in Australia, Indonesia and New Guinea. We suggest that while you wait for the bulldozer to arrive, you read the following articles about places, including California, where it is already a menace. 

Plant Conservation Allliance Alien Plant Working Group Least Wanted Cupaniopsis anacardioides

Texas Invasives cupaniopsis anacardioides

Los Angeles Times Tree of the Week: Carrotwood Tree


More Non-Natives Questions

Beans growing under artificial light from Vernon CT
May 04, 2012 - What bean plant will grow the best under a flourescent,spot gro light,green transparent light,or Natural light and why.What caused it to grow like it did?
view the full question and answer

Plants for a nursing home resident from LaQuinta CA
July 26, 2013 - I take care of an elderly woman with dementia. She is in a nursing home and she's always LOVES flowers and plants. Do you have any suggestions for potted outdoor blooming plants for the summer in...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Meyer lemon not bearing fruit in Austin
September 13, 2010 - I have had a meyer lemon for 9 years and it has never produced fruit. What do I do? It has beautiful leaves and thorns but no fruit. Thank you, Mr. Smarty Plants
view the full question and answer

Replacement for grass under non-native weeping willow from Yorba Linda CA
April 24, 2012 - What would be a good replacement for the grass currently growing under a weeping willow? Something requiring low maintenance, the problem is with mowing over and around the roots.
view the full question and answer

Replacing non-native Paulonia tomentosa in North Carolina
June 25, 2009 - What could I plant in my Winston-Salem, N.C., yard in place of the paulownia tomentosa which is there now (it was NOT something I put there; I only figured out what it was a couple of years ago -- I g...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center