En Español

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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - June 27, 2013

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives
Title: Is a mulberry tree undesirable?
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I have a hard time keeping plants alive, so I was happy when a random plant just started growing and thriving about 5 years ago in my yard. My mom (a frequent volunteer at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center) identified it as a Mulberry tree and suggested I get rid of it. Likewise, I had a landscape architect prepare a planting plan for the yard and he, too suggested I get rid of it. However, it seems to thrive so well and it is providing nice shade. Do I really need to get rid of it? what potential problems could this tree cause. I have seen no fruit so far.

ANSWER:

 

Well, it all depends.  I suspect that it is a Paper mulberry.  This non-native plant sometimes becomes very invasive, edging out native plants in its vicinity.  Seeds from your tree could be carried by birds into natural areas nearby.  Check out the texture of the leaves.  If they are sandpapery on top and downy underneath, it is the unwelcome Paper mulberry.  Best to eliminate it now.

On the other hand, it could m the much less common Morus microphylla (Littleleaf mulberry) or the Morus rubra (Red mulberry).  These natives are less invasive and provice food for wildlife.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mulberry
Morus microphylla

Red mulberry
Morus rubra

More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native Cape Honeysuckle, Tecomaria capensis
March 13, 2006 - I am trying to find general information on the Cape Honeysuckle or "Tecomaria" bush/plant. Is is related to the actual Honeysuckle Plant? What is it's care, propogation, sun tolerance, water requ...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for alternatives for Crape Myrtle in Washington, DC.
July 15, 2011 - What can you recommend as native alternatives to the shorter (garden-sized) crape myrtle cultivars?
view the full question and answer

Ailing non-native red tip photinia
June 05, 2009 - My red tips look like they are brittle and the leaves are spotted. What do I do?
view the full question and answer

Red berry that changes the taste of other foods
January 15, 2013 - Hi, your site is fantastic. I heard from a friend that he tried a red berry in Florida which when eaten change the taste of other foods eaten afterwards. He ate a lemon after trying that berry and th...
view the full question and answer

Lilac bush roots dangerous to house foundations
August 06, 2008 - Are lilac bushes dangerous to the foundation of a house? There is a lovely white-blooming lilac that grows against the house outside my bedroom window. My ex-husband said that the roots would destro...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center