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 - April 11, 2012

From: Monroe, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Shrubs
Title: Non-native photinias in Monroe NY
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Two Questions: Is the weather too cold to plant red tip photinias in Monroe NY? What is a good alternative evergreen shrub to hide chain link fence?

ANSWER:

From an article from Mississippi State University:

"Red-Tip Photinias Almost Eliminated:

Ten years ago, one of the most popular shrubs in the South was the Red-tip Photinia (Photinia fraseri). Everybody wanted this handsome evergreen shrub and it was widely grown by Southern nursery growers for use in both commercial and residential landscapes.

Red-tip is a wonderful, large, evergreen shrub with attractive foliage and showy white flowers. Its claim to fame is brilliant red new foliage that appears in the spring.

Nevertheless, in the last ten years or so, Red-tip has gone from the top of the list to the bottom due to intense pressure from a devastating fungal disease.

Red-tip is highly susceptible to the fungal pathogen known as Entomosporium that causes leaf spots and ultimately defoliation. The disease has all but eliminated Red-tip from the list of recommended shrubs for Southern landscapes. In fact, the disease is so widespread that one plant pathologist jokingly explained that there are two types of Red-tip, those that have the disease and those that are going to get it! So, even though newly planted Red-tip bushes may stay disease free for many years, ultimately they will succumb to the inevitable."

You will notice this refers to "Southern Landscapes," so we went hunting for the USDA Hardiness Zones in which it can live. Orange County, NY, at the northern edge of the New York Metropolitan area, is in USDA Hardiness Zone 6a, with average annual minimum temperatures of -10 to -5 deg. F. From this Dave's Garden article on the plant, we learned that the photinia needs USDA Hardiness Zones from 7a to 9b. You might also be interested in reading some of the comments from others who have raised it.

Since the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which the plant normally grows, this will not be in our Native Plant Database. Red-tip photinia is native to warm temperate Asia from the Himalaya east to Japan and south to India and Thailand.

So, we will search our Native Plant Database for evergreen shrubs native to New York. There will not be a lot of choices in your climate, but we found 6 possibilities. Since you did not designate a height or amount of sunlight, you will need to read the complete description of each plant in our Native Plant Database. Click the link on each plant to go to our webpage on that plant for information.

Evergreen Shrubs for New York:

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick)

Ilex glabra (Inkberry)

Leucothoe fontanesiana (Drooping leucothoe)

Ledum groenlandicum (Bog labrador tea)

Mahonia aquifolium (Holly-leaf oregon-grape)

Rhododendron maximum (Great laurel)

 

From the Image Gallery


Kinnikinnick
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Inkberry
Ilex glabra

Drooping leucothoe
Leucothoe fontanesiana

Bog labrador tea
Ledum groenlandicum

Hollyleaved barberry
Mahonia aquifolium

Great laurel
Rhododendron maximum

More Non-Natives Questions

Need suggestions for a privacy screen besides Murray Cypress.
October 18, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in NE TX, about an hour east of Dallas on I-20. I hear interstate traffic behind my house, and have a busy street on its left side, and a school adjoining in back. I thi...
view the full question and answer

Plant Care for Plumeria
October 15, 2005 - I have a plumeria that is getting too tall for my small patio. How I should cut it back and can start the cuttings into new plants? Does the original plant need any special care when it is cut back?
view the full question and answer

When and how to prune lavender (Lavandula sp.)
March 20, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants I have a Goodwin Creek Lavender plant that I planted last year. It did very well but my question is about pruining. It seems that there is some growth coming up now that it...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting non-native invasive chinaberry trees
July 21, 2008 - I know most folk think Chinaberry trees are only for digging up, but I say that here in the Hill Country during a drought, they are the greenest and purtiest tree around. I have some tall fifteen foo...
view the full question and answer

Control of suckers on non-native crepe myrtle from Bay Point, CA
March 08, 2011 - I wrote to you a while back and haven't heard back. I wanted to know if Naphthalene Acidic Acid will keep the suckers on my Crepe Myrtle at bay? And if so, where might I find it? Thank you.
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center