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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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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.

 
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Tuesday - August 20, 2013

From: Topsail Island, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Planting, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Need suggestions for trees to withstand high winds on Top Sail Island, North Caroloina.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Moving to coastal southern North Carolina. Planting native trees and shrubs, wax bayberry, Redbud, love the River Birch. What type of tree has the deepest roots or would be least likely to blow over in a hurricane.

ANSWER:

It looks like you have some plants in mind, but let me introduce you to our Native Plant Database  where you can search for 7,663 plants native to North America by scientific or common name. Since you are looking for a list of plants that you might consider planting, the Combination Search option is a good place to begin.

Click on the link above; scroll down to the Combination Search Box and make the following selections: select North Carolina under state, shrub under Habit, and Perennial under Duration. Check Part shade under Light requirement, and Dry under Soil Moisture. Click on the Submit combination Search button, and you will get a list of 46 native plants meeting these criteria that grow in North Carolina. Clicking on the scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page which contains a description of the plant, growth requirements and and characteristics as well as images. You can repeat the search, this time selecting tree under habit and get a list of  59 native trees to choose from. Changing your choices for light requirement and soil moisture will generate slightly different lists. You can have a lot of fun with this tool.
 
You’ll notice that “hurricane proof” is not one of the choices. The fact is that trees all over the country are blown over by high winds quite frequently. Some of the factors  involved include size (height and width) of the tree, its health, the soil type, and of course the strength of the wind.

I am going to include some links that deal with these issues.

    why tees blow over in a storm

    why trees blow over

    tree health from Univ. of Minnesota Extension

This link to the University of Florida deals with site evaluation and tree selection as well as maintenance issues to help prevent wind damage.

Another source of information and information would be the offices of NC Cooperative Extension in Onslow and Pender Counties.

 

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