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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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Wednesday - July 14, 2010

From: Granbury, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native bermudagrass dying under non-native globe willow in Granbury TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have a beautiful globe willow in our back yard with bermuda grass. All the grass is thinning out or dying under the tree. What can we do, is there another glass we could use that blends well with bermuda, etc?

ANSWER:

Unfortunately, it doesn't appear we are going to be able to help you very much. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown. Neither Salix matsudana, Globe Willow nor Cynadon dactylon, bermudagrass (native to Africa) are recommended by us. One problem with the bermudagrass in your situation is that it is a sun-loving plant and will not grow in shade. Another is that is has become one of the most invasive weeds in the south.

From a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer:

 "Please see this previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on Globe Willow, Salix matsudana, which is native to Asia and therefore falls out of our range of experience and is not in our Native Plant Database. Their invasive roots compete with nearby plants for moisture and nutrients, so gardening underneath is difficult. The willow will lap up anything you do to treat the soil, as well as suck up the water. The good news is, willows grow very fast and don't live very long, so when it dies you can cut it down and plant whatever you want to."  

 

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