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?


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

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


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


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


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


More Shrubs Questions

Plants for a Austin thicket underlayer
July 25, 2014 - We live in Austin, west of 183. We are planning to put a thicket in our backyard, where there is no threat of deer. Anchoring the thicket are a clump of live oaks, a Texas persimmon, an Eve's Necklac...
view the full question and answer

Small shrubs for flower bed in Denton, Texas
September 16, 2009 - I have a small flowerbed that faces south on the front of my house. What small shrubs would be best in that situation?
view the full question and answer

Will wax myrtle (Morella cerifera) grow in Roswell NM?
September 29, 2011 - We live in Roswell, NM. Will a wax myrtle tree live in our climate and soil?
view the full question and answer

Looking for a male Southern Wax Myrtle in Newport News, VA.
August 20, 2012 - We are looking to add more southern wax Myrtles to make a hedge row with them. We already have one in the ground that is a female. I have called around to see if anyone sells the male but i keep get...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping for a wedding in Memphis MO
October 13, 2009 - I am pretty new at this landscaping flower thing, but I love it. We just moved out to the country in NE Missouri from Colorado (Huge difference, but love it). We have decided to have our wedding at o...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center