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

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


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.


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

Invasive, non-native Cherokee rose in Elgin TX
September 24, 2010 - We have property in Elgin, TX in Bastrop county which has the red sandydirt-loam. The original owners from the 30's, must have liked the Cherokee rose. The problem is that it is planted around our ...
view the full question and answer

Planting iris rhizomes in Wisconsin
October 10, 2008 - I live in central WI and was given some iris bulbs (think they are called Rhizomes) and have no idea how to go about planting them. I am very new to planting so step by step instructions with good de...
view the full question and answer

Non-native carrotwood tree in Simi Valley CA
June 25, 2009 - We have a beautiful 40+ foot carrotwood tree that has been covered with small nut-like pods growing in bunches. They are a mess. Is there a spray that controls/eliminates this problem?
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native weeping willow in Villanova PA
July 03, 2009 - My weeping willow (6 years old,80+ft tall),up until this year used to be full and healthy. Last year I trimmed the lower portion of the trunk by cutting off the low hanging branches, but this year so ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning non-native peach in Austin, TX.
June 18, 2015 - I planted two five gallon Texas Star peach trees last February but didn't have the nerve to prune them back to knee height. After having been convinced that this is a good thing to do, I'd like to k...
view the full question and answer

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