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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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Wednesday - April 20, 2011

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Need suggestions for replacing invasive privet in the Dallas area.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


We are removing invasive privet at a project. We will need to substitute native plants and would like to know how to find out which plants should be used. We are in the Dallas area. Thank you.


When Mr. Smarty Plants hears Privet,  he thinks of Ligustrum, and assumes that your are dealing with one of the several species that is commonly planted in landscapes and later escapes into the environment.  A quick way to learn about replacement plants is to go to the Texasinvasives.org web site and click on INVASIVES DATABASE . In the Invasive Plants box, you can search the database by Scientific Name and find five species of Ligustrum listed. Using Ligustrun japonicum as an example, clicking on the name will  pull up a page that describes the plant. Scrolling down the page you will  find a section labeled:

The plants listed are good alternatives to replace Ligustrum, and each of the names is linked to our Native Plant Database. Clicking on each name will bring up its NPIN page which contains characteristics of the plant, habitat information, growth requirements, and photos. This can allow you to determine which plants are suitable for your site in the Dallas area.


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