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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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Friday - November 25, 2005

From: Fredericksburg, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Viability of Desert Willow in clay soil in Fredericksburg, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have recently purchased a house in a new subdivision in Fredericksburg, TX. The lot was not landscaped. I have a small lot (85 X 135), my back yard is about 50 X 85. The soil is a heavy clay. I am considering planting a desert willow. So far I have planted a few vines along the fence, planted three crape myrtles, one vitex and a few sages. I am considering planting a desert willow. I have only seen pictures of them. Can you please tell me if this might be a good choice? I have read about them in a number of sources and have not seen anything negative about them. Please let me know if they do have some negative aspects. Thanks.

ANSWER:

Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) is an excellent choice. It tolerates heat, cold, and drought and will grow in most soils including the heavy clay around Fredericksburg. It is also fast growing and disease resistant; and, besides, it has beautiful flowers and interesting foliage and fruit.

 

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