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 - 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 Shrubs Questions

Malpighia glabra for Austin
October 14, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I am planting native Malpighia in a raised bed that was specially prepared for growing roses (soil and amendments). This bed has been left fallow for several years. Do I need t...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for trees to withstand high winds on Top Sail Island, North Caroloina.
August 20, 2013 - Moving to coastal southern North Carolina. Planting native trees and shrubs, wax bayberry, Redbud, love the River Birch. What type of tree has the deepest roots or would be least likely to blow over...
view the full question and answer

Living fence of native plants for Ojai, CA
September 20, 2008 - I would like to build a "green fence" about 10-15 feet tall. I live in Ojai, CA where we have VERY hot summers and it goes below freezing every winter. The soil does not seem to drain well..it is e...
view the full question and answer

Is India Hawthorne a deer-resistant plant?
July 03, 2011 - Is India Hawthorne a deer resistant plant in Beaufort County South Carolina?
view the full question and answer

How to care for blueberries in Oregon
July 11, 2008 - New to oregon and to blueberry bushes - can you tell me the proper way to care for them - location-sandy, Oregon and unsure of which type of blueberry they are 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