Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - November 28, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Bumelia sending up shoots in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a bumelia that is sending up shooters everywhere in my yard. Everywhere!! I started to dig them up, but many come from deep roots and my digging seems to have encouraged the tree to send up more shooters. Ideas on how to control?

ANSWER:

Sideroxylon lanuginosum (Gum bumelia) is a member of the Sapotaceae Family of plants, and we did some research trying to determine if that family was more prone to putting out root sprouts, or shoots. This was never mentioned in the literature we saw, so we are just assuming that it is a common habit for this plant. There really is no quick and easy solution to this problem, shared by many other trees and shrubs. Usually, it is for propagation of the species, as plants create clumps of plants, all interconnected by roots, with shoots coming up to form branches, produce leaves and begin providing food to the whole plant. Live oaks and sumac are other plants that have this habit. You cannot use an herbicide to kill the shoots, because it will go to the roots of the shoot, which are also the roots of the main plant, and kill that. It's a war you probably won't win, but you can employ delaying tactics, such as regular close mowing, if the roots are coming up in lawn, and cutting off the shoots down 2 to 4 inches beneath the soil surface. See this previous answer for suggestions on appropriate tools for this operation.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Sideroxylon lanuginosum


Sideroxylon lanuginosum


Sideroxylon lanuginosum


Sideroxylon lanuginosum

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Problems with mountain laurel from Sunrise Beach TX
August 29, 2012 - In Llano Co., TX near lake LBJ, crushed granite type soil - my 4 - 5 year old TX Mtn. Laurels (2), about the size of large wheel barrows, are turning very pale, dropping leaves and on 1 the seed pods ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning of Grape Kool Aid Plant in California
August 03, 2008 - I have a Grape Kool Aid plant and was told it would grow to 6 or 7 feet tall, but it is well over that and I need to know if I can prune it and if so how?
view the full question and answer

Screening Suggestions in Brooklyn, NY
March 08, 2013 - My neighbor directly in back of me has shrubs that are growing all over my fence. Also his 9-foot-tall shed facing me is rusted. What can I do to improve my view so that I can enjoy my backyard more?
view the full question and answer

Connecticut Plants for a Steep Slope
September 09, 2015 - I am looking for the best plants to retain a steep, dry, fully shaded slope in zone 5, Connecticut. It must be deer resistant. Plant height is not a factor.
view the full question and answer

Native Shrubs to Plant with Viburnum in New Jersey
February 11, 2014 - Please provide me with a list of native shrubs, plants etc. for New Jersey that would work with my existing native viburnum.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.