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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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Monday - October 26, 2009

From: Oak Lawn, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Turf
Title: Did my neighbor's zucchini affect my apple tree from Oak Lawn, IL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My neighbor planted zucchini plants near a flowering non-fruit producing apple tree in my yard. Soon afterwards in July the tree began to shed leaves. Could the zucchini plant have caused this?

ANSWER:

At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are dedicated to the care, preservation and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Neither the zucchini nor the apple tree is native to North America. In addition, most vegetables and fruits have been so hybridized that it would be impossible to determine their origin in any case. Since we have no information on these plants in our Native Plant Database, we will just be guessing, but our guess is that the answer is no. Unless the zucchini is so rampant (which we understand they can be) that it is growing up over your apple tree and shading out the leaves, it's unlikely that the zucchini is a threat. For better information than we can give you, contact the University of Illinois Extension Office for Cook County. The horticulturists at county extension offices often are very knowledgeable about fruit and vegetable plants.
 

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