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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

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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Tuesday - July 23, 2013

From: Rochester, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Pests
Title: Bug repelling plants from Rochester NY
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Western NY (zone 6?) and have a shady area where I hang my swing, but it's so buggy under the tree I can't use it! The soil is very dry, rocky. Is there a plant/shrub that I can grow there to repel insects?

ANSWER:

Frankly, it's not the plants that attract or repel insects; it's the conditions favorable for insects that are most often the problem. Usually we are asked for mosquito repelling plants. Here is a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer that addresses that. It is from Austin, in Central Texas, which is somewhat dfferent from Monroe County, NY but the principle is the same. Another previous answer from North Carolina indicates one possible source of insects in your area. One more which deals with reputed mosquito-repelling plants.

Now, all you said was "insects," so let's see if we can find some more answers dealing with other possibilities:

Bees

Bees in trees

Bees attracted by aphid honeydew

Flies

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants is dedicated to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants are being grown; in your case, Monroe County, NY. Since we are gardeners, not entomologists, this is somewhat out of our line of expertise, but are are pretty sure plants, native or not, are not the solution to your problem.

 

 

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