Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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?

Share

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

Wednesday - September 17, 2014

From: Bartlett, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Poisonous Plants, Trees
Title: Is mulch from hackberry and chinaberry trees safe for flowerbeds?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We had to remove several large hackberry and china berry trees. Is its mulch safe to use in garden and in flower beds?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants does NOT recommend mulching with either Celtis laevigata (Sugar hackberry) or Melia azedarach (Chinaberry).  Both are considered to be allelopathic—i.e., they release chemicals through their litter and their roots that inhibit the growth of other plant species. You can read the answer to a previous Mr. Smarty Plants question about hackberry allelopathy.  Not only is chinaberry allelopathic it is also a seriously invasive species from Asia. Its fruit is poisonous to humans and other mammals and it is allelopathic with leaves and roots that release chemical compounds that inhibit the germination and growth of other plants by raising the pH of the soils.  See the answer to a previous question about chinaberry allelopathy.

 

More Trees Questions

Foundation plants for Albuquerque.
July 01, 2012 - Hello, I live in Albuquerque. I am looking for some native/xeric low water usage plants for foundation plants for my home. They will be foundation plants for a two story home that has a large ponde...
view the full question and answer

Is Viburnum rufidulum monoecious or dioecious?
July 28, 2014 - Is Viburnum rufidulum monoecious or dioecious? Your database does not address this for most plants.
view the full question and answer

Sprouts from Sabal palmetto in Charleston SC
July 23, 2010 - I live in SC and have several palm trees (our state tree and symbol). The trees are wonderful, but my situation concerns the many, many sprouts that appear in the flower beds around the trees? Is the...
view the full question and answer

How to treat bark damage on oak tree
November 15, 2011 - I have an oak tree approx. 50 ft., live in austin, texas. the tree has dropped bark about 3-4 ft above ground, in a section of 4 inches by 8 inches, and the tree appears dark where the bark was. is ...
view the full question and answer

Fall Planting Colorado Blue Spruce in Indiana.
October 15, 2009 - I live in Northern Indiana, and I want to plant a couple of Colorado Blue Spruces that are 3-6 feet in height and Balled and Burlapped. Is it okay to plant them this time of year?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.