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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 - April 14, 2009

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Need substitute plants for Red Tip Photinia in San Antonio.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Looking to replace Red Tips with major leaf spot infections. Need about third replaced. What suggestions would you have to replace these privacy hedge row type plants? Need a plant that will grow at least 5 feet tall. The plants are provided with water by a drip sprinkler system. Thank You.

ANSWER:

Red Tip Photinia (Photinia x Fraseri) in a non native plant, however it has been widely used as a hedging plant through out the south. With  the spread of the fungal disease Entomosporium leaf spot, many hedges have died or are dying out.

There are several options for replacing the Photinias, and Mr. Smarty Plants hopes that you will choose native species that are better adapted to your area. You can go to our Recommended Species page  and select Central Texas on the map. Click on NARROW YOUR SEARCH, and make the following selections: select Texas under state, Shrub under Habit, Perennial under Duration, and Sun under Light Requirement. Click the Narrow Your Search button and you will get a list of plants to choose from for your hedge. You can alter the list by changing the selected items.

Here are some suggestions from that list:

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) - evergreen

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) - evergreen

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) - evergreen, fragrant foliage

Osmanthus americanus (devilwood) - evergreen

Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry) - evergreen, handsome hedge plant

This Clemson University Extension website thouroughly discusses Photinia, its culture, its problems, and recommended substitutes, although several of their suggestions are non natives. Of particular interest for your situation is the section on Mixed Screens.


Ilex vomitoria

Leucophyllum frutescens

Morella cerifera

Osmanthus americanus

 


Prunus caroliniana
 

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