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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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Saturday - June 12, 2010

From: Salt Lake City, UT
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Getting flowers to grow under non-native globe willow in Salt Lake City
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have a globe willow in our back yard that is about 15 years old and cannot get any flowers to grow under it. Can you recommend what we need to do to treat the soil, and what type of flowers will grow best?

ANSWER:

Please see this previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on Globe Willow, Salix matsudana, which is native to Asia and therefore falls out of our range of experience and is not in our Native Plant Database. Their invasive roots compete with nearby plants for moisture and nutrients, so gardening underneath is difficult. The willow will lap up anything you do to treat the soil, as well as suck up the water. The good news is, willows grow very fast and don't live very long, so when it dies you can cut it down and plant whatever you want to. 

 

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