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
1 rating

Tuesday - March 08, 2011

From: Bay Point, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Control of suckers on non-native crepe myrtle from Bay Point, CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I wrote to you a while back and haven't heard back. I wanted to know if Naphthalene Acidic Acid will keep the suckers on my Crepe Myrtle at bay? And if so, where might I find it? Thank you.

ANSWER:

We're sorry you didn't hear from us. We try to answer questions within a day or two of receipt, so somebody goofed somewhere alone the line. First, we want to tell you that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native to North America and to the place where the plants are being grown. Lagerstroemia indica, Crape Myrtle, originated in Asia, and has been introduced to moderate climates everywhere. Furthermore, it has been widely hybridized, which makes it even harder for us to figure out what to tell you. From Gardening Know How, this article on Tree Sucker Removal and Tree Sucker Control can give you some more information. We had never heard of the acid you mentioned, but research told us it is used as a root stimulant. Those suckers are coming from the roots, put root stimulant on the suckers, and you will probably get more of them, not less. Furthermore, we don't like the idea of acid anything being used in gardens. It's bad for the environment, bad for the plant and bad for anyone handling it. Your tree may be under stress of some sort, which will cause it to sucker out to potentially make more food for the plant. Address the stress situation, which may be over-watering, over-fertilizing or damage to the tree from lawnmowers or weed trimmers. To deal with the suckers, use long-handled nippers, and get as far down in the dirt as you can and nip those suckers off. If the tree is standing in grass, you can mow them.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Are dusty millers perennial in Dubuque, IA?
April 24, 2009 - I have dusty millers in my front yard. Last fall I did nothing with them as I wasn't sure if they will return or not. Do the dusty millers continue to grow year after year and should I cut them dow...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native plumbago in San Antonio
November 21, 2009 - Plumbago problem. Live in San Antonio. Planted about 7 of these last spring, all from same store and at the same time. They are HUGE, blooming, thriving, except for the two on the end. They're in a d...
view the full question and answer

Pruning drought-stressed butterfly plants from Kerrville TX
August 22, 2011 - Due to the drought, our butterfly bushes have dead branches. Ordinarily we prune the dormant plants in winter, but can we cut back dead branches now?
view the full question and answer

Control of invasive non-native Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
June 11, 2009 - What can I do to control garlic mustard that has moved into my wild area and what should I plant to combat this aggressive plant? Ostrich ferns, Pagoda dogwoods and emerald hemlocks have been recommen...
view the full question and answer

Coloration problems with non-native nandinas and queens wreath in Taylor, TX
February 25, 2009 - This year my nandinas are extremely red and my queen's wreath blossoms deepened in color before the first freeze browned them out. What would cause this? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

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