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?


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 - November 06, 2011

From: Westchester, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Is a Brandywine Maple messy from Westchester IL
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Brandywine Maple: Does this tree produce sap, seeds or flower? As a home owner I can't afford more maintenance with clogged gutters or a sap covered car. Thank you.


While Acer rubrum (Red maple) is native to North America and to Illinois, 'Brandywine' has been developed as seen in this excerpt from Maple-tree.com:

"Development: 'Brandywine' resulted from a 1982 cross of Acer rubrum 'October Glory' and A. rubrum ' Autumn Flame' by A. M. Townsend as part of a research project examining the inheritance of fall color and leafhopper resistance, and an effort to improve existing cultivars of red maple. Released December, 1994. Significance: 'Brandywine' has a brilliant red-purple autumn color. It produces only male flowers; thus, no fruit or nuisance seedlings. It has a significant level of tolerance to potato leafhopper, better than or comparable to many commercially available red maple cultivars.

Apparently, this tree produces only male flowers, and therefore no fruit or nuisance seedlings. It does, however, produce a lot of leaves in the Fall. It would be nearly impossible to find any tree that would produce no waste products of one kind or another to clog your gutters. As for the sap that rises in the trees; in cold climates, these trees store starch in their trunks and roots before the winter-the starch is then converted to sugar that rises in the sap in the spring.

So, if you don't want litter or sap on your car, better not plant a maple over your car, and we really don't know what to suggest about the gutters. You can make decisions about location of plants and hardscape, but it is well nigh impossible to change the nature of a plant.



From the Image Gallery

Red maple
Acer rubrum

More Trees Questions

Trees for property in Nevada
April 06, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants: I would like to plant trees in between Crepe Myrtles than put up a fence along the paved road. The temperature ranges from 27'F to 130'F. It is a full sun all day and I will i...
view the full question and answer

Trimming back freeze damage from Anacacho orchid in Liberty Hill TX
May 17, 2010 - When is it safe to trim back what I think is dead wood on my Anacacho orchid trees (that were hit hard this past winter)? Is there any harm done if I cut back living wood?
view the full question and answer

Live oak leaves turning yellow after planting in Houston
December 19, 2011 - We bought a 65 gallon live oak in early October, and have been watering fairly heavily three days a week. It seemed OK, then all of a sudden lots of the leaves are turning yellow. Is it getting too ...
view the full question and answer

Understory trees for large trees in Austin
October 18, 2010 - I'm blessed with some beautiful large live oaks, burr oaks, and cedar elms in my front yard in southwest Austin. I'd like to plant some understory trees among them. The trees would get dappled lig...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Magnolia grandiflora in Las Vegas NV
January 17, 2011 - I live in Las Vegas, NV and have several Magnolia Grandiflora trees. They were doing well until 2 years ago when they started losing their leaves. The leaves turn brown or very dark on the edges. One ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center