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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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Wednesday - April 20, 2011

From: Lilburn, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Can non-native red-tip photinia be burned in fireplace from Lilburn GA?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can I burn red tip photinia in my fireplace?

ANSWER:

We would certainly rather you burn it than plant it, as it is non-native. Here is a previous answer on that plant. Some non-natives, such as oleander, are so poisonous that you cannot even burn it, because of the poisonous vapors it will release in the air. We don't believe that is the case with photinia, but we also don't know much about burning in a fireplace, so we will see what we can find.

To begin with, burning the limbs of a shrub seems more like burning trash than using firewood. Don't just dump that day's cuttings in the fireplace and expect to be happy with the result. Wait until all the leaves are gone, they will just smoke, and don't use twigs and small branches, unless perhaps for tinder. It should be considered as a softwood, so remember that when you are reading our references.

This first reference is from the U.K, so you may not recognize the trees mentioned, but the points about seasoning and storage are good. That reference is from Wildeye: Firewood. From CBS News Is Your Fireplace Ready?

Finally, please don't plant any more photinia, even if you can use it for firewood.

 

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