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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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Saturday - June 27, 2015

From: olney, IL
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Poisonous Plants, Vines
Title: Discouraging Poison Ivy
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

Is there a fern that discourages poison ivy from growing?

ANSWER:

Barbara Medford answered a similar question from a gardener in Tennessee about plants to muscle out poison ivy. Here's part of her answer ...What you are asking for is a plant or plants that can suppress Toxicodendron radicans (eastern poison ivy), right? Sorry, fighting poison ivy is a never-ending battle, because the conditions it likes are also liked by many more desirable plants. And even when you have pulled out and/or killed the existing vines, the birds will deposit more seeds. We are going to suggest some plants for the area that flourish in the same semi-shady, moist conditions that the poison ivy does, and try to select some that look different enough from the leaves of the poison ivy that you will notice it quickly and get it out before it takes hold. Dense shrubs can hide the vine and the leaves will blend right in, so we are going to suggest some native grasses. They are tough, durable, with long, fibrous roots which will hopefully discourage the poison ivy and the grass blades certainly do not look like poison ivy leaves, so the invader will be visible and available for destroying.

There's an interesting quiz to identify poison ivy online that you might like to see. It is at the www.poison-ivy.org website.  Good luck.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern poison ivy
Toxicodendron radicans

Eastern poison ivy
Toxicodendron radicans

Eastern poison ivy
Toxicodendron radicans

Eastern poison ivy
Toxicodendron radicans

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