En Español

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - May 18, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Grafting edible plums onto Cherry Laurel in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Grafting edible plums onto Cherry Laurel - possible? Insane? What? Could I do that? Could I graft, say, Green Gage Plum, or Mexican Plum, or Saturn Peach, on a Cherry Laurel and have any success? I have a Cherry Laurel in the yard which has failed to die in various droughts (we live on top of a hill.) I do not want to waste all those good roots which probably go, if not to China, at least to the aquifer. The Cherry Laurel is ugly but healthy and I'd like some edible stuff there. I am not a good grafter but I think if I get enough scion wood and try hard I should succeed with some of the grafts. (I would like any help I could get by the way . . . .) Lots of other people have Cherry Laurels and would probably like to grow something nicer, so this would be a useful experiment. I know that the fruit of the Cherry Laurel, uninteresting and seedy as it is, is not poisonous so one should be able to eat what grows on it. If anyone with you knows about this question, has scion wood, or can graft I'd like some help here. If this is the wrong time to graft I'll wait until fall (which is most likely the best time to graft.)

ANSWER:

First, while we're thinking about it, any member of the genus Prunus, including Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry), has toxic parts. The seeds, twigs, and leaves of all Prunus species contain hydrocyanic acid and should never be eaten. Leaves of Prunus caroliniana are particularly high in this toxin. The skin and flesh of the fruit can be eaten, but if you have small children or pets that chew on things, this is not a safe genus to have in your yard. 

Beyond that, we really don't know much about grafting, because any sort of grafting or hybridization or crossing of species renders the result non-native, and we are all about plants native to North America and to the area in which the plants are being grown. However, we can Google for some articles that will offer some technical advice and also address the possibilities of grafting the species you have mentioned.

Aggie Horticulture Texas Inlay Bark Graft 

University of Minnesota Extension Grafting and Budding Fruit Trees

Home Orchard Society Building a Tree, The Grafting Skill

 

More Propagation Questions

Growing butterfly weed as a girl scout project
July 30, 2012 - We have a group of girl scouts who want to sell 'crafts' at a farmers market. I am wanting to steer the moms and girls in a different direction. I was wondering if you think that butterfly weed woul...
view the full question and answer

Survival possibility of transplant of sucker from oak tree
May 15, 2006 - My neighbor has a young oak tree in his front yard. It has small leaves and round acorns and once a year sprouts shoot up at its base. The neighbor was kind enough to let me dig some up to try to tr...
view the full question and answer

Growing Magnolia from Seed in Dallas
October 20, 2010 - I recently visited the property that had once been my grandmother's. Lots of memories. The house burned down years ago, but the magnolia tree that she loved still stood. I gathered several dried seed...
view the full question and answer

Rooting desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) from a cutting
May 12, 2009 - I found a desert willow with great bloom color and I am trying to root a cutting. I have never tried to root a cutting but I have read that desert willow is easy to root. My first attempt was in a vas...
view the full question and answer

Drought tolerant grass for small lawn from Woodbury TX
June 07, 2014 - Trying to establish small lawn area, needs to be drought tolerant, water wise. Have tried Turffalo with poor results. Recommendation please.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center