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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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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!

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Tuesday - June 28, 2011

From: Euless, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Why do my Possumhaw Holly berries fall of in the summer in Euless, TX?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

My possumhaw holly has LOTS of green berries in the spring but they fall off in summer, so that I have only a handful of red berries in the winter. What is going wrong?

ANSWER:

One of the reasons for planting possumhaw Ilex decidua (Possumhaw) is for the beautiful red berries in the fall and winter. When they aren't abundant, its disappointing.

Mr. Smarty Plants is guessing that the problem has something to do with water, probably too little. Once the plant has flowered and the fruit is set, the cells inside the fruit require sufficeint moisture to divide and enlarge to fill out the fruit. Without enough water, all of the fruit can't develop.

This link from Oregon State University has some informative watering tips.

 

From the Image Gallery


Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

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