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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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Thursday - June 14, 2007

From: carrollton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Identificaation of different cultivars ofPrunus caroliniana
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

How can you tell if you have a Carolina Cherry laurel or Carolina cherry laurel "compacta," or a Cherry Laurel-English? I have a line of four cherry laurels and one in the middle recently died and I need to replace it. When I began the search I found these three varieties.

ANSWER:

Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry) and Prunus laurocerasus (English laurel) are very similar in appearance. The leaves of P. caroliniana are typically a little smaller (2"-3") than those of P. laurocerasus (2"-6"). The leaves of "dwarf" cultivars of cherry laurels will be even smaller. Your best bet for matching your replacement plant is to take a branch of an existing plant with you to a local nursery that offers both species and compare them there.
 

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