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?


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

Friday - August 16, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Trees
Title: Damage to cedar elm from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford


We have a cedar elm next to the corner of our house that has been dropping lots and lots of twigs with green leaves over the past 3 weeks, while our other elms have not. These rapidly pile up on the patio and we worry about the health of this tree. Can you help us identify what might be the problem? We hope it's just squirrel activity, but have never seen this is the 15 years we have been here. We live in Circle C, across the highway from the Wildflower Center


We have just answered a very similar question, also from Austin, written by a Mr. Smarty Plants Team member with personal experience with the problem. Since he says this is a short-term problem causing no permanent problems for the tree, we hope you can relax. We  are guessing the squirrels have easier access to that particular tree because of the proximity of the roof. Unfortunately, this works both ways - they also have easy access to your roof and attic. And this comes from someone who has had personal experiences with squirrels in the attic. You might want to check on that; squirrels can do a lot of damage and raise families in the shelter of an attic.


More Trees Questions

Deadheading seedless desert willows for continued bloom in Phoenix AZ
May 31, 2010 - We planted two seedless desert willow trees this spring. Both have bloomed nicely but we now have many stems with the spent flowers still on the tree. Your database for this plant says to "Remove spe...
view the full question and answer

red maple bark damage by squirrels
April 15, 2011 - We have two acres of land, largely covered by various oaks and cherry laurels -and, after many hours of cutting down chinese tallow trees..finally some red maples. Our problem is that we also have a s...
view the full question and answer

Replacement for running bamboo in California
May 20, 2013 - We currently have running bamboo planted next to the side our house facing West, which has provided wonderful shade in front of two large windows. However, because it is running bamboo we are afraid i...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen trees for Long Island, NY
September 20, 2007 - I live on across from the water on the north shore of Long Island. I would like the names of some hardy trees that are both native to Long Island and also NOT deciduous! I am finding it easy to find...
view the full question and answer

Do Maple trees and Poplars grow well in Amarillo,TX?
May 25, 2010 - Do maple trees and poplars grow well in Amarillo Texas? I love the fall reds, oranges, and yellows. If they don't grow well can you recommend some trees that have the color that will grow well?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center