Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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
2 ratings

Tuesday - February 23, 2016

From: walnut creek, CA
Region: California
Topic: Problem Plants
Title: A puppy's challenge in the ivy
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

ok.. so, heres the thing: my puppy &i often play with a frisbee toy in the yard (cuz the boy's got leaps!). however, it has become apparent that, simply put: i am a TERRIBLE frisbee player!! truly the worst. the ever-so-frequent result: our frisbee lands on the other side of the fence amid a dense spread of ivy plant. &armed with just a general area where "im pretty sure it went over about here..ish?", it is next to impossible to actually find the toy!! (needless to say, should the ivy ever be removed, theres a plethora of goodies to be discovered within!) alas, my question: have you any suggestions of methods i might try to successfully "sift" through the ivy for our toys without causing extreme trauma to the plant?? ive considered a rake or even a hoe, but i wind up tearing out so much ivy and/or constantly getting the tool "stuck" amid the branches &then fighting just to get THAT back again!! PLEASE HELP!! ive searched the web on countless occasions, but to no avail.. it IS an extremely odd question, i know! but im hoping this might just be the place to FINALLY get some answers!! 🙃

ANSWER:

I think I have the answer to your problem.  But first ascertain that your ivy is not Toxicodendron diversilobum (Pacific poison oak).

Next, go to Trader Joe's, buy yourself a package of bacon or a nice ham steak (with bone).  Go home and test your pup's sense of smell.  Does he salivate when you hold these morsels near him?  Of course he does.

Now have a wonderful meal with one of these meats, being careful to save the  "drippins".  These will be generously massaged onto the frisbee.  Now you are ready for the real test.

Take your pup outside and toss the frisbee (very carefully) a couple of times.  Then toss it over the fence. Point your pup in the right direction and relax in a lawn chair while he fetches it and hopefully places it in your lap. Dogs have truly amazing noses.

I believe this will eliminate your problem.

P. S.  The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center will not be responsible for replacing any half-eaten frisbees.

 

More Problem Plants Questions

More on bluebonnets
March 10, 2003 - Clover has taken over and just about covered the Bluebonnets. Is there any way of removing the clover such as with fertilizer or something else?
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnets and weeds in Burleson TX
March 31, 2010 - I have lots of blue bonnets growing in my yard but they are overcome with weeds. What can I use to eliminate the weeds without killing the bluebonnets?
view the full question and answer

Identification of a plant with winged stems in Texas
July 08, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, We live in Denton Texas & our backyard is being taken over by a very woody type weed or bush. The most distinguishing characteristic is that long thin vertical ridges or fins...
view the full question and answer

Identity of and how to get rid of plant in planter in Indiana
May 17, 2013 - We moved to Mooresville Ind. (Brooklyn area) 3 yrs ago. In one of the 12x12 planters out back, these one THINGS keep cutting back and spreading everywhere. They are tall, hollow stem, seems like ther...
view the full question and answer

Management practices to eradicate Johnson grass
September 02, 2006 - Please suggest some eradication methods for Johnson grass. It is established in a field that I want to encourage native wildflowers/plants such as goldenrod, prairie coneflower, blue eyed grass, milkw...
view the full question and answer

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