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
1 rating

Tuesday - March 08, 2011

From: Bay Point, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Control of suckers on non-native crepe myrtle from Bay Point, CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I wrote to you a while back and haven't heard back. I wanted to know if Naphthalene Acidic Acid will keep the suckers on my Crepe Myrtle at bay? And if so, where might I find it? Thank you.

ANSWER:

We're sorry you didn't hear from us. We try to answer questions within a day or two of receipt, so somebody goofed somewhere alone the line. First, we want to tell you that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native to North America and to the place where the plants are being grown. Lagerstroemia indica, Crape Myrtle, originated in Asia, and has been introduced to moderate climates everywhere. Furthermore, it has been widely hybridized, which makes it even harder for us to figure out what to tell you. From Gardening Know How, this article on Tree Sucker Removal and Tree Sucker Control can give you some more information. We had never heard of the acid you mentioned, but research told us it is used as a root stimulant. Those suckers are coming from the roots, put root stimulant on the suckers, and you will probably get more of them, not less. Furthermore, we don't like the idea of acid anything being used in gardens. It's bad for the environment, bad for the plant and bad for anyone handling it. Your tree may be under stress of some sort, which will cause it to sucker out to potentially make more food for the plant. Address the stress situation, which may be over-watering, over-fertilizing or damage to the tree from lawnmowers or weed trimmers. To deal with the suckers, use long-handled nippers, and get as far down in the dirt as you can and nip those suckers off. If the tree is standing in grass, you can mow them.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Failure to thrive of closet plant
August 13, 2008 - I have a closet plant that is old and was doing fine and then started having droopy leaves. It needed to be in a larger pot so I transplanted into a larger pot with new potting soil. It continues to...
view the full question and answer

Winterizing non-native sedum in Saskatchewan CA
October 31, 2011 - What should be done to winterize a autumn joy (sedum)?
view the full question and answer

Planting location of non-native Japanese maple in Toronto
May 22, 2009 - Hi Mr. Smarty, I am in the region of Toronto, Canada. I just bought from nursery a "Red Select" Janpanese Maple, about 2' tall, still in its 1' pot. I intended to plant it in my front yard ...
view the full question and answer

Potted non-native mimosas in the U.S.
July 12, 2009 - We need I hope there is someone who could tell me where I could find potted mimosa plants in the US.
view the full question and answer

Identification of non-native Viburnum lantana
July 23, 2007 - Could you tell me what this plant is? I have no idea! Vib Iantana Mohican - this is all the info. I have, other than it can grow in the mid-west.
view the full question and answer

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