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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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Thursday - August 13, 2009

From: Detroit, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Pruning, Trees
Title: Corkscrew willow damage to roof in Detroit, MI.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have a corkscrew willow (Detroit, MI) that is huge and whose branches hang on top of the asphalt shingles of my mobile home. It has now been discovered that these shingles, under the branches, are disintegrating. Could this be due to the exudate from this corkscrew willow?

ANSWER:

The Corkscrew willow  (Salix matsudana) has become a popular ornamental tree in the U.S. due to its contorted and twisted branches and twigs. The winter branch pattern is especially interesting interesting. However, since it is non native to North America (its origin is China), it lies outside our expertise here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center where we focus on  and  encourage the cultivation, conservation and preservation of wildflowers and other native flora throughout North America.

If the limbs of the tree are actually in contact with the shingles of your home, I think that a combination of accumulated leaf litter holding moisture and the rubbing of the branches on the roof would be enough to help deteriorate your shingles. 

Once you have replaced the damaged shingles, you might consider checking out this site for tips on pruning the lower branches of your willow tree.

 

 

 

 

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