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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

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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Sunday - April 26, 2009

From: San Ramon, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Suckers on non-native Mayten tree
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have a Meyten tree that has lots of suckers coming up from the roots. We would like to keep the tree, but if we can't find a way to control the suckers, we are considering taking it out. Any suggestions on how to get rid of all the suckers ?

ANSWER:

We think you are probably referring to Maytenus boaria, which is native to South America, and therefore not in our area of expertise. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are committed to the use and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. This California Gardens website Maytenus boaria points out that the plant suckers when the roots are disturbed, and that it has made the pest list in many areas. California is such a good area for growing things that far too many invasive non-natives have been allowed to take over and damage native habitats. We would suggest you take out the tree and then be constantly on the watch for fresh suckers appearing. 

 

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