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

Can trimmings from non-native globe willows be planted from Broken Arrow OK?
June 13, 2010 - We have 2 globe willow trees in our back yard. We trim low hanging branches. Can we take these cut branches, -plant them and have it grow into a new globe willow tree?
view the full question and answer

Why are there gnats in my houseplants?
July 22, 2009 - I have flying brown gnats in my house plants. Can you tell me why?
view the full question and answer

Information about non-native Night Blooming Jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum)
June 23, 2009 - Hello, I have been trying to identify a shrub that has been in my backyard for many years, and I happened to come across your website. I was able to identify the plant as Night-Blooming Jasmine, but t...
view the full question and answer

Are non-native Cleveland pear trees poisonous to dogs in Rushsylvania, OH
May 11, 2011 - Are Cleveland pear trees poisonous to dogs?
view the full question and answer

Cross pollination of orange and crapemyrtle
November 05, 2007 - I have a crapemyrtle tree growing 3 feet from a navel orange tree. This summer a shoot grew from the ground 5 inches from the orange tree. The shoot looks just like the orange tree but the leaves were...
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