Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Thursday - November 11, 2010

From: Homewood, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Planting, Pruning
Title: Will suckering of coralberry be a problem in Homewood AL?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am considering planting Symphoricarpos orbiculatus in the yard of the home I just purchased. I am interested in attracting wildlife to my yard and covering over a stump with a 3' diameter. My only concern is its suckering habits. Will surrounding the plants with landscape edging be sufficient to contain them? Thanks!

ANSWER:

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry) is a native to Alabama. From our Native Plant Database, here is a comment on its suckering properties: "Coralberry forms extensive colonies and spreads by rooting at the nodes where it touches the ground." A landscape barrier of stone, etc. would not communicate anything to the plant, only marking, for you, the spot beyond which you did not want the plant to sucker. As the long, supple branches arch over, they will ignore whatever barrier you have put in and droop to the ground outside it, where they will root.

We would suggest that you use tip pruning to keep those branches from crossing your barrier. We think a barrier would still be a good idea, as it will help you remember where you DON'T want the plant to go. This is not something you can go off and forget about, just pruning once a year or something like that. Once those suckers have rooted in the ground, you have another shrub growing, probably where you don't want it, and you will be fighting with the suckers from the new bush as well as the old.

For the purposes you have stated, attracting wildlife and covering an old stump, we believe this is an ideal plant, but you will have to stay after it, year round. Just about any plant is going to try to reproduce itself, once it has found a good place to grow. The birds that eat the berries and drop the seeds somewhere else, the wind that blows seeds to a different location are other ways you can get more bushes. Our database page says Coralberry makes a good woodland understory plant. If that is not the yard you had in mind, we suggest you select something else.

 

More Planting Questions

Failure to bloom in hybrid lantana
June 30, 2008 - I live in Austin and have planted the newer lantana varieties which bloom with orange and pink flowers.They have been planted in full sun and get watered 2 times a week for about 15 minutes.They do no...
view the full question and answer

Feeding live oak and redbud trees from Fredericksburg TX
October 23, 2012 - Can you please tell me what to feed my live oak and texas redbud trees that survived the drought? We have granite soil.
view the full question and answer

Moving "lily of the valley" from MD to TX. Is that OK?
January 17, 2012 - My question pertains to lily of the valley. From your database, I learned that it is a native plant but only the following states were listed: GA , KY , NC , PA , SC , TN , VA , WV. I am moving from...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestion for a replacement tree in Dallas, TX.
January 23, 2013 - We are going to have a 25' tall tree removed and ground out because every year squirrels chew the branches and make huge piles on the deck and into the pool. This continues for a good month 1.5. Hen...
view the full question and answer

Getting USDA Hardiness Zones on our website from Yakima WA
October 11, 2010 - Since the Internet brings people from all over the United States, why don't you include the zone in which each plant can grow and survive. Or, is that too difficult to do?
view the full question and answer

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