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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 - October 08, 2013

From: Madison, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Laws, Planting, Trees
Title: Law against planting cottonwood in Madison WI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I was told that there is an ordinance against planting cottonwood trees in Madison, WI. Is this true?

ANSWER:

You do realize you are asking someone in Austin, Texas about a local ordinance in the town where you live? Down here, the questions are usually whether it's against the law to pick the Texas State Flower, Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) (there is not) or a law to prevent homeowner's associations from mowing native plants (also no). There are 9 species of the genus Populus (cottonwood) native to North America. The species Populus deltoides (Eastern cottonwood) is native to both Wisconsin and Texas. There is a lot of complaint about it in allergy season because many people are sensitive to the puffs of "cotton" that carries the seed.

We suggest that you contact the University of Wisconsin (also in Madison) Extension Office for Dane County. There is probably a more appropriate city office that you could call, but we don't know that, and you can bet the Extension Office will have the answer.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern cottonwood
Populus deltoides

Eastern cottonwood
Populus deltoides

Eastern cottonwood
Populus deltoides

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