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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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Wednesday - July 31, 2013

From: Peoria, AZ
Region: Select Region
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Shrubs
Title: Problems with non-native, invasive Japanese Privet from Peoria AZ
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have Japanese Privit bushes. one out of 6 has started to grow very small leaves and does not look healthy. Moon Valley told me shortage of zinc, but that has not helped in 3 months. What can I do?


The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants are being grown; in your case, Maricopa County AZ. Ligustrum japonicum (Japanese Privet or Wax-Leaf Ligustrum) is native to Japan and Korea and is therefore is out of our range of expertise. It is considered an invasive plant according to this Invasive Plant Atlas of the Mid-South. We can, however, make one supposition about the problem you are having with it in Arizona. This USDA Plant Profile does not show Ligustrum japonicum growing in Arizona at all. That doesn't mean it won't grow there, it just means it hasn't been reported as growing there. There may be a problem with the soils or the extreme heat you experience where you are.


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