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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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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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Monday - January 18, 2016

From: Brownsville, ON
Region: Canada
Topic: Propagation, Poisonous Plants, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Trees
Title: Will blue eyed grass grow under black walnut trees?
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Will blue eyed grass grow under black walnut trees? I know the Siberian Iris is tolerant but the scientific names are not the same yet everything I read indicates that blue eyed grass is not in the grass family but it he iris family. I cannot find any information as far as Sisyrinchium is concerned.

ANSWER:

The toxic substance, juglone, that is released by Juglans nigra (Black walnut) inhibits the growth of many plant species.  I have not seen Sisyrinchium atlanticum (Eastern blue-eyed grass) on any of these lists, and from the types of plants found to be tolerant to juglone I suspect that Blue-eyed grass might grow well under walnut trees.  But in order to bloom well, Blue-eyed grass needs sun.  If your trees are tall and allow good filtered light to penetrate the canopy you can expect a nice show of blossoms.

 

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