En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - August 05, 2010

From: Saratoga, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Problems with non-native Maytens tree in Saratoga, CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, My friend's Mayten tree (green spray)leaves are yellowing and we don't know if it is under-watered (surrounded by grass and fed with a time sprinkler for 20 min. maybe 2 or 3 times a week). Should it be deeply watered? If so, how many times and for how long? Thank you kindly

ANSWER:

The species that generally occurs in California, Maytenus boaria, is not native to North America and we are supposing that this is the one that you have. Although our focus and expertise here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is on plants native to North America, we are happy to point you to advice on non-native plants if we can. This Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute article on the Mayten tree  indicate that the tree needs good drainage. Another urban forest group, Canopy, based in Palo Alto, California, lists "collar, foot and crown rots" as problems for the Mayten tree which certainly could occur from not having good drainage.

The California Invasive Plant Council lists the Mayten tree as very invasive and potentially damaging to infrastructure, like sidewalks and foundations.  Since it is isn't flourishing anyway, and is both non-native and invasive, your friend might consider taking it out and replacing it with a tree native to the Santa Clara County area. Here are some suggestions from our Native Plant Database:

Arbutus menziesii (Pacific madrone) - pictures from Google

Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber (birchleaf mountain mahogany)

Quercus agrifolia (California live oak)

Umbellularia californica (California laurel)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery: 


Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber

Quercus agrifolia

Umbellularia californica

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Mercer Society of Harris County Plant Sale from The Woodlands, TX
March 15, 2011 - Love the Name! Anyway, the Mercer Society of Harris County will be having its annual plant sale late this month and as usual I will be attending. I'm trying to find some tropicals and sub-tropicals...
view the full question and answer

When will non-native Confederate Jasmine bloom in Austin
March 03, 2014 - I have 2 large Confederate Jasmine plants growing in 3 gallon pots on either side of an arbor I built for my friends wedding. The wedding is in 1 month and I'm wondering if this jasmine typically bl...
view the full question and answer

Identification of non-native Grape Hyacinth
April 13, 2013 - Mr Smarty Plants, can you tell me please, what is the name of the flower in the attached link? I see numerous references to it as blue bells or bluebells, but when I check the USDA Plants database, no...
view the full question and answer

Organic means for ridding garden of stinging ants
April 18, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I have a butterfly garden that is filled with native plants the butterflies LOVE! However I have a colony of red ants that have moved in. I need to trim some of the more inva...
view the full question and answer

Control of non-native invasive Japanese Barberry from Enfield NH
April 22, 2014 - I recently bought a home that is bordered by woods and a sizable area of invasive Japanese Barberry growing on a steep hill in and around a stone wall making it that much harder to dig up. I've alway...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center