Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - July 25, 2013

From: Fallbrook, CA
Region: California
Topic: Planting, Soils, Trees
Title: Season to plant Pacific Wax Myrtle from Fallbrook CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Would like to know which season would be the best to plant Pacific Wax Myrtle in Fallbrook, CA area? I presently have invading bamboo, which I want to get rid of. Thank you!

ANSWER:

In our Native Plant Database, we have a Morella californica (California wax myrtle), of which another common name is Pacific Bayberry. This USDA Plant Profile Map shows it growing in the western coastal counties of California, but not as far south as San Diego County, on the Mexican  border. In North America, in fact, it grows only in the western coastal states and British Columbia. The member of the Myriaceae (Bayberry) family we are more familiar with in Texas is the Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle), which grows no farther west than Texas, and mostly in East Texas, at that. Still, they are closely related, and we can find the answer to your question.

If you follow this plant link, Morella californica (California wax myrtle), to our webpage on that plant, you will find these growing conditions:

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Moist, well-drained, slightly acid sands or loams.
Conditions Comments: This shrub tolerates beach wind."

Here is more information and pictures from Calflora. And still more from the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation. In our research, we learned that this tree is hardy from USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 7a to 10B. San Diego County is considered in 10b to 11a. The reason we are searching for so much information is that we are concerned that the tree you want to plant is not recorded as growing naturally in San Diego County. That doesn't mean it won't grow there, it just means it isn't reported as growing there. Also, you will note that it likes slightly acid sands, and needs very good drainage. Since we don't know what your soils are, that is another reason for concern. We suggest that you contact the University of California Extension Office for San Diego County. They may either know what your soils are or be able to supply you with a soil test kit.

Now that we have gone through all the warnings, to answer your original question: We always recommend that woody plants (trees and shrubs) be planted in the coolest time of the year when the plant is in semi-dormancy. And PLEASE don't purchase the plant before you are ready to put it in the ground. As hot as it probably is where you are, we would say not to plant it a minute before December 1st, and have it in the ground by January 31st. From our Step by Step Guides, here are instructions on How To Plant a Tree.

 

 

 

More Planting Questions

Transplant shock in my Nuttall Oak tree in Moore, OK.
July 23, 2009 - I had a Nutall oak tree planted; it is 5 inches in diameter and about 24 feet tall. It was planted in March of this year, leafed out ok; now since June 20th I have had a large quantity of the leaves t...
view the full question and answer

White fuzz on pine tree bark in Dartmouth MA
July 13, 2010 - We have white fuzz on our pine tree bark?
view the full question and answer

Tree removal from Austin
November 18, 2013 - Unfortunately we need to cut down a Spanish oak (11" diameter, over 50 feet tall) that is leaning against our upper story deck (if it falls, the roof, deck, and steel supports may be crushed). A lim...
view the full question and answer

Care of Live Oaks
July 11, 2012 - We have Two Young Live Oaks in the front of Our home. We had them treated for insects, ect. Now what can we do to make them Full Green and Happy Happy Happy again.Thank You
view the full question and answer

When to plant bluebonnets in Spicewood, TX
March 19, 2016 - When is the best time to plant Bluebonnets and do you place seeds under the soil or just spread on top? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.