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 - November 11, 2010

From: Homewood, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Planting, Pruning
Title: Will suckering of coralberry be a problem in Homewood AL?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am considering planting Symphoricarpos orbiculatus in the yard of the home I just purchased. I am interested in attracting wildlife to my yard and covering over a stump with a 3' diameter. My only concern is its suckering habits. Will surrounding the plants with landscape edging be sufficient to contain them? Thanks!

ANSWER:

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry) is a native to Alabama. From our Native Plant Database, here is a comment on its suckering properties: "Coralberry forms extensive colonies and spreads by rooting at the nodes where it touches the ground." A landscape barrier of stone, etc. would not communicate anything to the plant, only marking, for you, the spot beyond which you did not want the plant to sucker. As the long, supple branches arch over, they will ignore whatever barrier you have put in and droop to the ground outside it, where they will root.

We would suggest that you use tip pruning to keep those branches from crossing your barrier. We think a barrier would still be a good idea, as it will help you remember where you DON'T want the plant to go. This is not something you can go off and forget about, just pruning once a year or something like that. Once those suckers have rooted in the ground, you have another shrub growing, probably where you don't want it, and you will be fighting with the suckers from the new bush as well as the old.

For the purposes you have stated, attracting wildlife and covering an old stump, we believe this is an ideal plant, but you will have to stay after it, year round. Just about any plant is going to try to reproduce itself, once it has found a good place to grow. The birds that eat the berries and drop the seeds somewhere else, the wind that blows seeds to a different location are other ways you can get more bushes. Our database page says Coralberry makes a good woodland understory plant. If that is not the yard you had in mind, we suggest you select something else.

 

More Planting Questions

Need suggestion for a replacement tree in Dallas, TX.
January 23, 2013 - We are going to have a 25' tall tree removed and ground out because every year squirrels chew the branches and make huge piles on the deck and into the pool. This continues for a good month 1.5. Hen...
view the full question and answer

Replacing river birch from Maple Grove MN
April 22, 2014 - How soon after taking out a river birch clump tree and grinding the stump would we be able to plant a new birch clump?
view the full question and answer

Brown, dry leaves on weeping willow tree
May 01, 2008 - We live in central TX and have just planted a weeping willow tree. Our back yard has a retention pond and ravine that parallels our property and we were told that the weeping willow will do perfectly ...
view the full question and answer

Starting shade-tolerant ground covers in New York
September 10, 2013 - Hi, I have seen some of the posts for shade-tolerant ground cover on the east end of Long Island and my question is process related. Now that I've identified the grasses/plants I need to keep my fro...
view the full question and answer

Construction problems on site in Mansfield OH
April 28, 2012 - Last year we had a rectangular above ground pool put in the person who "leveled" for use did a terrible job and basically dug a huge hole for us to put our pool in. The back side of the pool is abou...
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