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?

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
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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - June 29, 2011

From: Babylon, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Replacing shrubs with perennials in NY
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

We removed a lot of shrubs from our back yard that had been there for many years. We now want to plant perennials but there seems to be a lot of very deep roots in the soil. The roots look dead but I'm not sure. I tried to remove some of them but it is a lot of work. Can we plant in this soil?

ANSWER:

If you have dug the roots out and have workable soil to a depth of a foot or so, you can go ahead and plant perennials.  If you had very vigorous shrubs that you did not actually kill, you may have a bit of a mess, but if the roots are actually dead, they will gradually decompose, add nutrients to the soil and improve the drainage.

You will want to plant perennials that are tough enough to "make a go of it" so we recommend you plant native perennials.  You can visit our Native Plant Database and do a Combination Search for New York selecting Herbs (herbaceous plants) and your light and moisture conditions.  You can also narrow your search for bloom color and time preferences to help with your planning.  Each plant on the list has a link to a detailed information page (with images) that will also tell you what wildlife benefits the plant may provide.

Have fun!

 

More Shrubs Questions

Small shrubs for roof garden in Washington DC
February 01, 2009 - I am looking for a hardy evergreen shrub for a roof garden in DC. Needs to be 3-4 feet tall, evergreen, dense, survive the extreme wind, cold and heat.
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Esperanza in Houston
July 07, 2009 - Esperanza plant. I have 3 of these plant in my flower bed for the last 10 years. They get west sun. Over the last three years they have bloomed initially but then the new growth is deformed. The best...
view the full question and answer

Japanese maple in New York
August 15, 2008 - I have a few questions: Do you know what zone Brooklyn, NY. is in? If I plant a Japanese Maple in my backyard, do you think it can tolerate almost full shade (1-2 hours of sun per day)? Also, is it...
view the full question and answer

Need replacements for old arborvitaes destroyed by snow and ice in Reisterstown, MD.
February 07, 2011 - Our big old arborvitaes have been destroyed by snow and ice. Rather than a fence we would like to use plants/bushes for privacy. We live in zip 21136. This would extend all across the back property l...
view the full question and answer

Is slow growth of young Tx mountain laurel normal?
July 02, 2012 - My Texas mountain laurel is 2 or 3 years old and is about 4 feet tall. It seems quite healthy but has grown very little, if any, and has never bloomed. Is this normal? Although I don't want it to gro...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center