Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
1 rating

Wednesday - June 06, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Pruning, Transplants, Shrubs
Title: Poverty plant overgrown in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have a poverty plant that is too big for its space in our yard. We like it and want to keep it. Can it be transplanted easily? What about pruning it.

ANSWER:

We had to search on "poverty" in our Native Plant Database, and got 4 results:

Two, Sporobolus vaginiflorus (Poverty dropseed) and Baccharis neglecta (False willow) grow in Travis County. The other two, Danthonia spicata (Poverty oatgrass) and Juncus tenuis (Poverty rush) grow in Texas but not in Travis County. Since you asked about transplanting or pruning it, we decided it was probably the False Willow. You can follow all four links to the webpages on those plants to make sure we chose the correct plant.

Follow this plant link Baccharis neglecta (False willow) to our webpage on the plant. Here are the Conditions Comments on it:

"The species name neglecta refers to the prevalence of this plant in neglected or disturbed areas. Although common, consider planting this shrub for its showy profusion of silky silver/white flowers. Roosevelt Weed is also a good nectar plant for many pollinators including some butterflies. Simple to care for: Full sun and low water."

On the subject of transplant, NOT NOW. No matter how large or small, healthy or not, we recommend planting all woody plants, trees and shrubs, from November to January in Texas. The plants should be dormant then and less likely to develop transplant shock, which can be fatal. A lot depends on how large the shrub is now and where you would have to move it to.

As we did further research on this plant, we are wondering if you might want to have another think about saving it at all. Read this article from Aggie Horticulture, where we learned that it not only can become quite invasive, it is also very flammable, not a good trait in view of Austin's recent history. Another article from the Bell County Master Gardeners The "Neglected" Shrub reflects the same concerns. False Willow blooms from August to October and begins to set seeds even as it blooms. We would recommend that, if nothing else, you prune all blooming limbs away, which would reduce its size, and seriously consider taking the whole plant out before it even gets to blooming.

 

From the Image Gallery


False willow
Baccharis neglecta

False willow
Baccharis neglecta

False willow
Baccharis neglecta

More Transplants Questions

Transplanting Tecoma stans in Texas
October 26, 2008 - I have a pair of Tecoma stans planted too near the house. They're in shade most of the day. The branches that can reach a little sun are blooming nicely. Would they survive being transplanted fart...
view the full question and answer

Buffaloberry from Grandma
June 25, 2008 - I have a "BUFFALO BERRY" that my Grandma brought back from South Dakota.It is approx.8yrs.old.All was well until this spring.It was budding out when we had a very hard freeze and got 3" of snow.Now...
view the full question and answer

Removal of pups from Century Plant after blooming in Prairieville LA
October 03, 2009 - Will the main part of the century plant always die after it grows a stalk? I have babies coming off the base and need to know if I should separate them to keep them alive.
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Blueberries in NY State
November 03, 2011 - I would like to ask you about transplanting blueberry bushes. When can I move them? 3 of them are at least 10 years old and haven't done well in their current location. I have built a fence to keep t...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Gay Feather
September 22, 2005 - Can I transplant the flower Gay Feather any time or should I wait until the plant dies this winter?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.