Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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

Saturday - September 03, 2011

From: Newtown , PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Shade Tolerant, Trees, Vines
Title: Stumps of fallen oaks in Hurricane Irene from Newton PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Two large red oaks fell in the woods in our yard in Newtown PA due to Hurricane Irene. The trees have been removed, but the stumps remain. Please can you recommend some fast-growing, attractive, native vines that we could plant to cover the unsightly stumps?

ANSWER:

Both Quercus coccinea (Scarlet oak) and Quercus rubra (Northern red oak) are referred to by the common name "red oak" and are native to Pennsylvania. It is really terrible that you lost such valuable trees. In the case of the exposed stumps, we would really prefer that it be taken out by a stump grinder, but contractors with that kind of equipment are probably going to be in short supply for a while. When a stump is ground, the large pieces of root can be removed, and the ground materials left to compost in the ground, preparing the soil for replanting in the Spring. A stump left to rot can provide a haven for insects and fungi in your garden.

You might have a while to consider these possibilities. Planting in Bucks County, in the southeastern tip of Pennsylvania, USDA Hardiness Zone 6b, should be postponed until warmer temperatures prevail in early Spring. In addition, vines in your area are all going to be deciduous, which means you won't have significant coverage in the Winter. Having said all that, we will go to our Native Plant Database and do a Combination Search for vines. Since you say these stumps are located in a wood, we will specify part shade for Light Requirements. If you follow each plant link to the page in our database, you can learn Growing Conditions, Propagation Instructions and soil types for that vine.

Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper) - A high-climbing, aggressively colonizing woody vine to 35 ft., climbing or scrambling over everything in its path by aerial rootlets.

Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle) - High-climbing, twining vine, 3-20 ft. long, with smooth, glossy, paired, semi-evergreen leaves and 2-4 flowered clusters of red, tubular blooms followed by bright-red berries.

Clematis ligusticifolia (Western white clematis)- A strong, woody or semi-woody climber to 20 ft. or more.

 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

Western white clematis
Clematis ligusticifolia

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Plants to grow in high zinc, lead and copper soil in Los Angeles
January 24, 2011 - We live on the Westside of Los Angeles and have just been given the bad news that our beds are high in zinc (86.39), lead (45.98) and copper(12.95). Can you recommend some plants that may grow in thes...
view the full question and answer

Shelf life of hawthorn leaves in Florissant, MO
April 30, 2009 - I have a bag of hawthorn leaves that were harvested in 2007. Do you know if they're still effective? How long is the shelf life of hawthorn leaves? Thank you for your assistance.
view the full question and answer

Native shrubs or ground cover for north-facing landscape in Ft. Worth
March 23, 2010 - Need native plant ideas for a landscaping bed against the house facing north. Already has 1 Beautyberry but two others died of root rot last year due to incredibly high water table in our area. Old ...
view the full question and answer

Leaf browning on blackfoot daisy in Arizona
August 26, 2008 - Blackfoot daisy plant was doing great; then, in one day, it turned brown like it had no water. Have a watering system in place which waters once a day for one hour 1/2 gallon a hour.
view the full question and answer

Time to transplant an Eastern Redbud in Pearland, TX
November 17, 2010 - When is the best time in the fall to transplant an Eastern Redbud tree in Pearland, TX? We have one approximately 6 feet tall in the back yard and want to move it to the front ASAP.
view the full question and answer

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