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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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Monday - June 15, 2009

From: Tarzana, , CA
Region: California
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Is it OK to plant Huisache in southern California?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

We have a wonderful huisache growing on a very dry rocky/dusty slope. It has now sprouted babies and we are delighted because we have room for several more on this slope. I have some room on our front yard (West-facing, extreme summer heat in PM) which has a tipuanatipu (sp?) tree, mature (7 yrs), a strawberry tree, and several agaves and tall grasses. Can the huisache succeed in this same area? We are cutting way back on watering to fulfill DWP requirements here in Los Angeles county. I did not know the huisache was considered a nuisance. Until the seedlings showed up we were trying to find another one!! The huisache has proven very hardy and seems to have a good symbiotic relationship w/ the cacti and agaves. We use sprinklers at this time in the front yard. If I don't get an answer I'll assume it's OK to plant. Thanks,

ANSWER:

While the location you've selected to plant Acacia farnesiana (Huisache) is horticulturally acceptable but ecologically suspect.  We cannot recommend its use there because of its potential for invasivenss in your area.  Huisache is not native to southern California and there is concern of it becoming a weed there just as it has in other parts of the world where it's been introduced.

 

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