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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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Sunday - March 21, 2010

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Best of Smarty, Wildlife Gardens, Shrubs
Title: Will shoes pick up American Beautyberry fruit and stain carpets?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Do the berries from American Beautyberry fall on the ground so your shoes pick up the berries to stain the carpet in my house?

ANSWER:

We once belonged to a club where the use of any red or pink juices in punch for refreshments was prohibited, because those colored juices would, indeed, stain the carpet in the meeting room.

So, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To begin with, birds adore those gorgeous Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) berries that appear in the Fall and Winter, so many will never get to the ground for you to step in. Second, those that do fall will probably be gobbled up by ground-feeding birds. Third, you would do well to not be walking in the soil around your shrubs, because that compacts the soil, and will get mulch and dirt on your shoes. And, finally, if we may make a suggestion, you might invest in an inexpensive hemp mat that can sit outside and take off any further residue from shoes entering the carpeted area. Or, don't plant the Beautyberry.

 

From the Image Gallery


American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

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