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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 - May 13, 2010

From: Katy, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Problems with non-native fruit trees in Katy TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have several species of fruit trees growing. pear, lime, orange, pluot, plum, variegated orange, peach, lemon all planted in ground, some this year and some last year: My lemon (approx 15 gallon) and orange (approx 10 gallon) (both planted this year) are not doing so good. The lemon has fruit since purchase. The orange does not. Both trees get water for about an hour twice a week along with all of my other thriving fruit trees. The lemon and orange are losing leaves, they are turning yellow and falling off. I do not see bugs or bug trails on the leaves. Can you please assist or advise?

ANSWER:

All of those fruit trees and, in fact, most plants that have fruits you would buy in the grocery store are either non-native to North America and/or have been so extensively hybridized that recognizing their parentage would be impossible. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plants are being grown. The County Extension Offices usually have good information on food plants, fruits and vegetables. We would suggest you contact theTexas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Office for Harris, Ft. Bend or Waller County, since Katy is in all three.
 

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