Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

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.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

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.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - August 09, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native pittisporum disease in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Did Barbara Medford of Round Rock, TX ever find out what was causing sections of her dwarf pittosporum to die out? I have seen this in many yards now.

ANSWER:

There seems to be some confusion for our friends writing to Mr. Smarty Plants. The name on the answer is that of the person on our Mr. Smarty Plants team who answered the question, in this case, me. While we put the town and state with the answer, we never publish the name or address of anyone asking a question. I found the question and answer on pittosporum in Round Rock TX in our "answered" questions, and I will quote it for you.

"Pittosporum is native to China and Japan, and therefore out of our range of expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. We encourage the usage of plants native to the area in which they are being grown because they are adapted to the soil, water, and environment. We did a little research and found that, indeed, pittosporum is vulnerable to aphids, cottony cushion scale and mealy bugs, which the site we were looking at said could be treated with horticultural oils. We neither recommend for nor against the use of pesticides, and are not familiar with their uses, especially on non-native plants. Therefore, we suggest you contact the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Service of Williamson County for more specific information on what is going on in your area. Contact information and further links to that site are on their home page."

In your case, since you are in Austin, you should contact the A&M AgriLIFE Extension Service of Travis County. 

 

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Alternatives to non-native heather (Calluna vulgaris)
April 27, 2007 - I live in Vernon, BC, Canada. I plan to put a heather plant in my garden, but my space is limited. I know that it will grow approx. 2 ft. high and that it likes well drained and acidic soil, but how...
view the full question and answer

Difficulty with Clay Soil from Palm Bay, FL
August 22, 2012 - I had a very nice little native shady area behind my house for over 40 years, but now it has been cleared except for a 100 foot tall live oak in the center of this raised mound (50' x 80'). I've be...
view the full question and answer

Leaves on non-native Chinese pistashe tree yellowing in San Antonio TX
August 11, 2010 - My chinese pistashe tree leaves are turning yellow. The tree is about 25 years old. the last time it did this I applied some iron granules into the ground around it. However I have forgotten how mu...
view the full question and answer

Growing kudzu in Las Vegas NV
April 18, 2013 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a question about a known invasive species that I know you advise against, but I feel my situation may be different enough that it's worth asking about. Yes, I'm talk...
view the full question and answer

Mulching vegetables with straw
June 13, 2007 - I have a small garden with 4 different veggies, tomatoes, hot peppers, squash & cucumbers. which plants is it OK to put straw under? which plants will straw hurt the stalks or other possibilities? tha...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.