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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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Sunday - August 09, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native pittisporum disease in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Did Barbara Medford of Round Rock, TX ever find out what was causing sections of her dwarf pittosporum to die out? I have seen this in many yards now.


There seems to be some confusion for our friends writing to Mr. Smarty Plants. The name on the answer is that of the person on our Mr. Smarty Plants team who answered the question, in this case, me. While we put the town and state with the answer, we never publish the name or address of anyone asking a question. I found the question and answer on pittosporum in Round Rock TX in our "answered" questions, and I will quote it for you.

"Pittosporum is native to China and Japan, and therefore out of our range of expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. We encourage the usage of plants native to the area in which they are being grown because they are adapted to the soil, water, and environment. We did a little research and found that, indeed, pittosporum is vulnerable to aphids, cottony cushion scale and mealy bugs, which the site we were looking at said could be treated with horticultural oils. We neither recommend for nor against the use of pesticides, and are not familiar with their uses, especially on non-native plants. Therefore, we suggest you contact the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Service of Williamson County for more specific information on what is going on in your area. Contact information and further links to that site are on their home page."

In your case, since you are in Austin, you should contact the A&M AgriLIFE Extension Service of Travis County. 




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