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

Propagation of non-native vitex
August 10, 2008 - I am interested in propagating a beautiful big vitex tree. Can I do it from seeds or what is the best way? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Graywater with soap on trees and shrubs from Austin
June 18, 2012 - I previously asked you about using rinse water from our top loading washer to water trees and flowers. I have two more questions: Can I use the soapy water to water trees and shrubs? Then I get...
view the full question and answer

Source for non-native Crown of Thorns from Bulverde TX
May 04, 2013 - Can you please tell me where I can buy a Crown of Thorns plant in or near Bulverde, Tx.
view the full question and answer

Plant for a salt water pool in Australia
September 27, 2011 - What plant is a perfect plant for small areas around a salt water pool?
view the full question and answer

Can non-native Epiphyllum (Orchid Cactus) be grown in Round Rock, Texas?
July 01, 2014 - Can the Epiphyllum (Orchid Cactus) be grown in the Round Rock Texas area or is this area too hot for it?
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center