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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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Saturday - July 21, 2012

From: Simi Valley, CA
Region: California
Topic: Problem Plants, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Skin allergies; is Juniper the culprit in Simi Valley, CA?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

My husband and I have had terrible skin allergy problems this spring (for me it's been 3 years) and think it may be the juniper bushes outside our bedroom and kitchen windows. Is there a fast growing, non-allergenic bush or hedge that we can plant in place of the junipers? I know that privet also causes allergies. We have lived here 25 years and never had a problem until 3 years ago. Thanks much. Simi Valley, CA resident

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants has a couple of questions for you. What changed three years ago that would cause an incident of skin allergy problems? Why do you think that juniper is the culprit? People here in Austin suffer from juniper allergy, but it  is mostly respiratory problems caused by the juniper pollen.

Before you start removing the junipers and replacing them, you should determine what you are allergic to. It could be juniper, but it could be something else entirely.

I’m going to give you links to three sites with helpful advice on allergies and gardening.

University of Vermont Extension

gardenweb.com

Thomas Leo Ogden, author of; Allergy-Free Gardening: The Revolutionary Guide to Healthy Landscaping

 

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