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?


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
1 rating

Friday - December 17, 2010

From: NYC, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Orange trumpet creeper parasitic to oaks in New York City?
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Is the Orange Trumpet Creeper a parasite to oak trees? My concern is that a neighbor with a tall oak has a vine growing up it and I wonder if it could damage or weaken the tree?


Somewhat to our surprise, because we always thought of Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper) as being confined to the southeastern United States, it is actually native to New York, and to the New York City area, according to this USDA Plant Profile map. It is not parasitic to oak trees, in the sense of taking nutrients from the tree itself, but can certainly become invasive and damage the tree, even killing it by preventing the sun from getting to the food-producing leaves of the tree.

We suggest you learn more about this plant from our webpage on it by following the above link. You also might be interested in the many negative accounts from people who have grown it, found in Dave's Garden Forum.

Beyond warning your neighbor that his tree might be in for a bad time with the vine, about all you can do is keep them from coming up on your property. They seed themselves prolifically, and the birds help spread the seed. Mowing in your area to keep them from getting big enough to leaf out is one line of defense. Another is to learn what the new sprouts look like and pull them out when they first emerge.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Campsis radicans

Campsis radicans

Campsis radicans

Campsis radicans




More Invasive Plants Questions

Dandelions in bluebonnets in Bastrop TX
May 31, 2012 - I have a 20'x60' front yard area where I planted bluebonnets. It has become horrifically inundated with dandelions. How do I eradicate the dandelions while preserving the bluebonnets ? Thanks ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native genista racemosa from Leander TX
March 28, 2012 - Hello, Mr. Smarty Plants. I fear I've made a horrible purchase at a local plant place. Bought a "broom" plant--it's not listed in your database. Latin name: genista racemosa, according to tag. ...
view the full question and answer

Removal of mature agaves
November 20, 2007 - Hello- we live in Austin, TX and have a bed of different varieties of agave. They are near the walkway to our house, and are so out of control they pose a hazard to our guests walking up to the house...
view the full question and answer

Invasive phragmites from New Egypt NJ
July 30, 2011 - I have some wetland near a road. It has been taken over by phragmites. How is the best way to remove these grasses and add some diversity to this area. The area in question is approx. 100 by 30 feet.
view the full question and answer

Inadvisability of importing plants from one region to another
March 03, 2006 - I wonder if you could help me. I want to send my friends some conifer trees from England to Florida USA. I went on the Department of Agriculture site and they recommended your site for questions. Than...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center