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?


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
2 ratings

Thursday - June 25, 2009

From: Toluca Lake, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Problems with non-native Carrotwood tree in Toluca Lake CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford


My Carrotwood tree leaves are turning yellow and curling down, Why? Also due to a bad trim, the outer limbs are dying. Can you tell me what is wrong? It is an old tree and I would like to save it!


Due to the large volume of questions, we ask that you please limit your questions to topics related to North American native plants. This must be the season of bad luck for carrotwood, as this is the second question on this plant we have answered today. The first question was asking what the pesky nut-looking things were in their tree. We have excerpted the information from that answer.

"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

Problems with non-native crape myrtle from Raleigh NC
March 23, 2011 - I have two crepe myrtles that were planted last year, did well all summer long. We had some freezing weather and this spring their buds are brown with little white flakes(very sparingly) and no leaves...
view the full question and answer

Protecting plants from birds near bird feeder
April 24, 2009 - I am happy to have several cardinal pairs living in my yard, but I need to discourage them from eating & destroying my purple heart planted under the huge cedar that holds my bird feeders. The cardina...
view the full question and answer

Jasminum polyanthum Deer Resistant and Native?
March 07, 2015 - Are Jasminum polyanthum deer resistant? They are selling these plants at Trader Joe's right now so I'm assuming it's native to our area. But the instructions don't say anything about deer.
view the full question and answer

Magnolia and non-native weeping willow competing in Annapolis
October 19, 2010 - We planted a sweetbay magnolia next to a Weeping Willow in our yard and did not anticipate the willow would grow so quickly and into the magnolia. We have had the magnolia now for 3 years, and it is c...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Indian hawthorn
April 18, 2009 - We have some Indian Hawthorns that were planted for us by a landscape company. The first year we got a little bit of bloom. Since then the shrubs don't bloom at all. They are in a flower bed up aga...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center