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

Tuesday - April 24, 2012

From: Yorba Linda, CA
Region: California
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Compost and Mulch, Shade Tolerant, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Replacement for grass under non-native weeping willow from Yorba Linda CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What would be a good replacement for the grass currently growing under a weeping willow? Something requiring low maintenance, the problem is with mowing over and around the roots.

ANSWER:

Actually, our first suggestion would be to get in your Time Machine and go back to the time when you planted that tree, and then don't do it! Here is a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer to the same question.

The simple fact is that the willow is aggressive, invasive and non-native. That means it very nicely discourages or destroys any plant seeking to compete for space and resources. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown. The weeping willow originated in China.

But, if your Time Machine is not working, we know a spot where you can get all kinds of information and/or plants that fit your need. You need to decide ahead of time how much shade the plants will have to tolerate, under that tree.

You (or we) are in real luck because the Las Pilitas Nursery has a website on some of the California native plants that can be used as less than a foot high ground covers. We believe that the Escondido store would be the nearest to you in Orange County. They have contact information and directions on the webpage.

We have one other suggestion for that under-tree space. A good quality shredded bark mulch will cover the roots, help to protect the roots from heat or cold, prevent evaporation of moisture, is attractive and smells good. As it decomposes, it will go into the dirt under the tree, improving drainage and making nutrients in the soil more accessible to the roots. About every 6 months it will probably need to be replenished, but it will never need mowing.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Competition for sun between non-native loquat and Carolina laurel cherry in San Antonio
October 27, 2010 - I have planted 2 Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry)along my north side fence. I just learned my neighbor has planted a Loquat tree on the other side of the north facing fence. He told me that...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves on non-native Betula pendula
July 03, 2008 - I live in Puyallup, Washington. I purchased and planted a weeping birch on June 21, 2008. For the first few days all seemed well and the tree seemed to be settling in to its new home. Less than e...
view the full question and answer

Non-native invasive carrot wood tree losing leaves in Alpine CA
April 22, 2014 - My carrot wood tree is losing all of its leaves. The tree is about 15foot high & 13 years old. Could it be gophers? The tree was trimmed 1 year ago.
view the full question and answer

Foxglove safety from England
April 21, 2013 - Hi, regarding safety of foxgloves grown near edible plants - foxgloves are good companion plants for vegetables, in case of root vegetables they improve their storage life and quality. Foxgloves prote...
view the full question and answer

Hiding a chicken house from Glen Rose TX
February 06, 2013 - To hide a chicken house, which do you recommend, crape myrtles or chinese photinias?
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