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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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Tuesday - March 10, 2009

From: Palo Alto, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Damage to non-native Japanese maple
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a medium sized branch of a dwarf outdoor Japanese maple partially (about 70%) broken off. How can I fix it? What chemical/plant hormone/material can I use to initiate regrowth of the broken part? What steps should I take? Please advise. Thanks

ANSWER:

We are sorry to hear about the damage to your tree, and wish there were such a product available. Very seldom will woody plants heal from even a small break in a branch, and there is no hormone or other substance that will inspire them to do so. The best thing to do is to carefully prune the damaged branch away from the tree. This article from Trees Are Good Pruning Young Trees has instructions and illustrations to help you help your tree.

The Japanese maple is a native of China and Japan, and therefore out of our range of expertise. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are focused on the use, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being planted. Native plants which are accustomed to the climate, rainfall and soil of an area will need less fertilizer, water and maintenance. 

 

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