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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 - July 22, 2010

From: Downey, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native hybrid willows dropping leaves in Downey CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have 1 year old Hybrid Willows that are strong and 12 feet tall, with many branches. All of a sudden they are dropping their leaves in July. I got them for fast growing shade, now the branches are almost bare. Are they ok? Are they dying? Is there anything I can do? I swore they looked healthy. Thanks,

ANSWER:

We were not sure what exactly a "hybrid willow" is, but most willows are natives of the Far East, and many of them are hybrids of non-native willows. This means they fall out of our range of expertise, which is the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plants are being grown.

When we searched the Internet for  sources of information we found the iVillage Gardenweb  on Hybrid Willows. This is a forum but you might be interested in what some of the participants have to say about the willow. Also, please read this eHow site on Information on Hybrid Willows.

Frankly, we don't like the non-native willows or hybrids of same, not just because they are non-native but because they are invasive and susceptible to many pests and diseases. They grow fast but are short-lived.

Images of Hybrid Willows from Google. 

 

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