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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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
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Thursday - April 09, 2009

From: Portage, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Plant ID and pruning in Portage IN
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I'm looking for information on trimming a bush about 6 feet in diameter with orange horns in bloom and its name.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants loves to identify plants, but even with a very extensive description, we often are unable to do so. Please go to our Plant Identification  page for instructions on submitting a photo, and we will take another crack at it.

However, we can probably give you instructions on pruning it, without knowing exactly what it is. A bush of that size would most likely be a woody plant. If it is a Spring blooming plant, it should be pruned back after the bloom has ended, taking out any dead branches, and cleaning up to make it the size and shape you want. Otherwise, it is better to trim woody plants during their dormant season; even though we don't yet know what the plant is, that would still be a satisfactory time to do your pruning. If the plant blooms on new wood, you should do the trimming in the fall, to give it a chance to grow new flowering branches. 

We found an article from The Country Gardener, stating that it "serves communities in Northwest Indiana..." which would apply to you, and it has more specific pruning information for your locale: Pruning Tips by Kristopher Wulff, Master Gardener.

 

 

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