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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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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

QUESTION:

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?

ANSWER:

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

 

 

 

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