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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - April 24, 2011

From: Katy , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Problems with non-native Bradford pear in Katy TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi. I have a Bradford Pear that I wrapped during the freeze at the base of the trunk during last years freeze. It is about 4.5 yrs old. The base has cracked and the top is dry and lifeless; however, at the base are 2 upshoots(?) about 2 feet long which are leafy and green. Even at the base is a crack in the bark. Should I try and let this tree live or just replace it?

ANSWER:

The Bradford Pear is a selection of Pyrus calleryana, native to Korea and China. The selection called the Bradford Pear was released into the retail market in 1963, with a lot of attention. However, as the trees first planted have begun to mature, a number of problems have appeared, the main one being weak trunks and branches, very susceptible to storm damage. Since this tree is not native to North America and certainly not to Texas, we would not recommend replanting under any circumstances. A tree native to an area always has a higher likelihood of being well-adapted to the soil, rainfall and climate conditions. This article from Floridata will give you more information.

In terms of the shoots coming up from the base, those are the attempts by the roots of this damaged tree to survive. They are attached to the original roots and if there is disease in the tree, it will certainly also be in those shoots. Even if they survived, it is unlikely they would make a suitable tree for your garden. We suggest you go to our Native Plant Database and search for a tree native to East Texas that will serve your purposes. We also suggest you not plant it until late Fall or early Winter, when the tree will be semi-dormant and less susceptible to damage in transplanting.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Sad Germanders in Johnson City Texas
September 16, 2011 - I have some grey bush germanders that never seem to do well although they did at first when I planted them four years ago. They have sun and dappled shade on the south side of the house. A friend in ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native invasive Siebold viburnum from Isleboro ME
June 17, 2012 - I was given several small Siebold Viburnum for planting on my Maine property. Even though it is often for sale in nurseries, I'm aware it is listed as invasive in several eastern states. Shouldn't I...
view the full question and answer

List of North American plants grown in other countries
August 17, 2008 - I am working on a childrens story and would like to let the teachers who read this book know where some of the native plants in my book grow throughout the world, or if they grow outside of the USA. p...
view the full question and answer

Why won't my Jacaranda flower in Oviedo, FL?
October 06, 2010 - I have a Jacaranda tree that is 12 years old and and nearly 30 feet tall. It is a beautiful healthy tree that has never produced flowers. How can I get my tree to bloom? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Replacing St. Augustine grass from Dallas TX
April 10, 2014 - Dear Mr. Pants, we are replacing dying St. Augustine grass in a small, sunny back yard with ground cover. What are your recommendations for a drought-tolerant evergreen ground cover? We will till a...
view the full question and answer

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