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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

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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Friday - June 25, 2010

From: San Diego, CA
Region: California
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Cutting bloom stalk of century plant in San Diego CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My 28 yr old century plant will bloom soon. I understand it will die. Will this 30 ft stalk then likely fall? Will I need to call someone to cut the dead stalk? The base is nearly 7 ft by 6ft - no way for us to reach it with an electric saw.

ANSWER:

Yes, it is more likely that the bloom stalk will fall before the plant itself is dead. Let it bloom and set seed, it has worked all of its 28 years to do that. By then, it won't be too attractive and it could come down in wind and do damage to property or person. Someone who does tree trimming should have the kind of tool that has a long handle and a mechanism so the stalk can be cut from a distance. Knowing which way it is going to fall is going to be a problem, so we feel a professional landscaper or arborist would really be the best way to go.

 

From the Image Gallery


American century plant
Agave americana

American century plant
Agave americana

American century plant
Agave americana

Lechuguilla
Agave lechuguilla

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