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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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Tuesday - April 30, 2013

From: Pacific Plsds, CA
Region: California
Topic: Invasive Plants, User Comments, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Are agaves really native from Pacific Palisades CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I just replied re agave issues, and mistakenly asked the source of your information. I see that you clearly noted it, apologies. I would note, however, that the Riverside area is very much a hot, inland area, and San Diego county includes the nation's largest desert state park, mere miles from the Mexico border. The mid and upper California Coastal mountain ranges have a completely different, milder, wetter environment.

ANSWER:

Since your question was about getting rid of them, the nativity really isn't the big issue. A weed is a plant where you don't want it. If the plant is native to the state where it is, that isn't necessarily a free ticket to stay there. However, whoever planted those agaves was justified in that they are native to California, and native close to the area where they were planted. They are desert plants and if they have found a very comfortable place to grow, they could be characterized as invasive. Bottom line: they are there, they are native there and getting them out is going to be very difficult. Short of a time machine whereby the planters could go back and not plant them, your choices are: get permission to have them removed (if that is necessary), pay a contractor to move them (and you will still have "pups" no matter what you do), or do it yourself. They are tough survivor plants, evolved to survive in a difficult environment and there is no spray you can buy at the home improvement store that will solve the problem.

 

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