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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Friday - June 01, 2012

From: San Marcos, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Concerns about swings on trees in Arboretum from San Marcos
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We very much enjoyed our visit to the new Arboretum this morning! It is already lovely with native species but will really be something with the additions the Wildflower Center has chosen. The picnic areas are lovely and what a wonderful idea to have an area with swings under the oaks! I was dismayed, however, not only at the fact that the swings were actually attached to the oaks but at the manner of attachment. Surely it would have been better for the oaks to not have bolts drilled into them and to have moveable supports for the swings so that the inevitable foot brushing troughs could be moved from place to place, sparing too much abuse to the same part of the roots. An arboretum should set an example on how to care for trees. Additionally, some limbs to which swings were attached appeared to already have been somewhat compromised before the addition of swings. I would hope that a qualified arborist was consulted on this, because in the long term there could be significant safety concerns both for the swingers and the oaks.

ANSWER:

Actually, we had consultation with swarms of arborists, including some of our own staff. A number of tree care companies in the area donated a great deal of time, manpower, expertise and materials to the preparation of the big trees for their debut. These were all trained, licensed arborists and no one, staff or volunteer, would have permitted anything possibly damaging to our crown jewels trees.

We're glad you enjoyed seeing it and thank you for your concern.

 

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