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

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

List of Central Texas native shrubs
October 28, 2008 - Need to find a list of Central Texas native shrubs.
view the full question and answer

Is cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) edible?
December 21, 2012 - I found a post here about cenizo leaves being used for tea, but I'm wondering if the leaves of the cenizo are edible? I have found many recipes for 'brown butter sage' leaves (sauteed often with on...
view the full question and answer

Need options for smaller trees in neighborhoods in Austin, TX.
May 25, 2012 - Please discuss smaller tree options for typical Austin neighborhood yards. These houses are built close together on the sides, and only have smallish back yards. They just don't have space for big 50...
view the full question and answer

Thorny shrub to use as a barrier in Michigan
June 12, 2010 - What shrub/bush/tree would you recommend that grows fast, very thorny to act as a very strong deterrent/barrier that gets at least 4' tall? It would be in an open yet removed area from foot traffic ...
view the full question and answer

Care for heritage roses
October 07, 2007 - Dear Mr. SmartyPlants, I took some cuttings from an antique rose my grandmother had.I had good luck , had some of them grow for me. Some of them have blooms and others are long and lanky stems but n...
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