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

Monday - January 24, 2011

From: Los Angeles, CA
Region: California
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Diseases and Disorders, Soils
Title: Plants to grow in high zinc, lead and copper soil in Los Angeles
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We live on the Westside of Los Angeles and have just been given the bad news that our beds are high in zinc (86.39), lead (45.98) and copper(12.95). Can you recommend some plants that may grow in these conditions. Thank you!

ANSWER:

Since we are not soil chemists, we are unfamiliar with the numbers you gave us, so we did a little research and found three websites you could look at, compare your figures (if they are measured the same way) with the figures in these papers:

Fact Sheet: Zinc in Soil

Lead in Garden Soils

Environmental Effects of Copper

Again, this is pretty far out of our field, and we don't know how your numbers compare with the "safe" numbers quoted in these articles, nor do we have any lists of plants that can survive in those soils. We are curious, if those numbers are abnormally high, to know how the metals entered your garden soil. However, we would suggest that, at least for your flower beds, you replace that soil, or amend it with compost and other organic matter, which will dilute the effects of the metals. Without knowing your sun exposure, soil moisture or space requirements, there is no way we could recommend specific plants.

We are assuming that if your garden has that problem, others in your area share it. Your best source for on-the-spot information of this sort is the University of California at Davis Cooperative Extension Office for Los Angeles County.

 

 

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Desert willows not doing well in Navarro County, TX
May 16, 2009 - Planted 3 new desert willows , 3-4 ft.in February. Live in East Navarro County and soil is clay with slight slope to Richland Chambers lake area. Had a wet spring. These plantings appear not doing we...
view the full question and answer

Potting soil used in Wildflower Center nursery
October 23, 2008 - I recently purchased several beautiful little plants at your Fall plant sale and notice how very happy and healthy they all are! Please tell me if you mix your own potting soil and what your potting ...
view the full question and answer

Turf grass for part-time home from Louisville KY
April 28, 2012 - We have a small yard at a remote location with cistern water, and need a turf grass for a yard, clay soil, which I am willing to amend. It will receive sporadic attention as my husband and I do not l...
view the full question and answer

Shredded hardwood for mulch
December 07, 2007 - I intend to landscape a section of my new property. but want to wait until the cold weather has passed. I have pets that will be contained within a fenced-in area that has some wild grasses but also ...
view the full question and answer

Limp leaves on Texas purple sage in Magnolia TX
July 22, 2010 - Recently planted Texas purple sage, some of it looks healthy and has new blooms, but a few of the plants have limp leaves and are thin at the bottom. I read the article on cotton root rot, but am not ...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center