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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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Sunday - March 04, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Thorns on non-native orange trees
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

I just moved into a new home that has orange trees in the yard. The tree trunks and limbs are thorny. What kind of oranges are they? How should I care for them? Is it ok to cut off the thorns so they don't prick passerbyers?

ANSWER:

You most likely have one of the many different varieties of sweet orange or Citrus sinensis which can be traced back to China and Southeast Asia. There are about 16 Citrus species and they are all small evergreen trees and shrubs, usually with spines on trunks and branches. The genus includes lemons, limes, grapefruits, and oranges.

The Plants for a Future website has information about caring for your orange trees and, yes, you can remove the thorns without harming the tree.


 

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