En Español

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

What is wrong with cultivars of native plants?
May 26, 2009 - What is wrong with cultivars of native plants? My state native plant society won't allow cultivars at their annual sale, and the native plant nursery from which I order only offers the species. But a...
view the full question and answer

Proximity of orange trees in Phoenix AZ
June 14, 2009 - Do I need to plant my orange tree away from my neighbors orange tree?
view the full question and answer

pruning crape myrtle (ugh, non-native)
March 05, 2012 - We would like to plant a Dynamite Crape myrtle in front of our front window. They grow 20' to 30'. Can I trim it each year to about 15' to 20'? Should we plant it approximately 5 feet from the ...
view the full question and answer

Help for a Transplanted Bougainvillea
April 22, 2014 - I recently planted a bougainvillea in our south-facing front yard. While planting it, we inadvertently severed a large portion of the root system from the plant. What, if anything, can we do to help...
view the full question and answer

Distribution vs. Native Distribution in NPIN?
September 27, 2013 - I'm a Habitat Steward in Austin and conducting a native plant swap tomorrow, 9/28/13. I need to be able to tell people who come whether their plant is native or not. I want to use your smart phone ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center