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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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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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Thursday - September 05, 2013

From: Tucson, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Problems with non-native Chinaberry tree from Tucson AZ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a 30+ year old Chinaberry tree and this year the branches are much sparser with leaves and there are a lot of small dead branches. Should I fertilize and what should I use? Thank you

ANSWER:

Frankly, we would prefer that you either let it die, or have it cut down. Please see this article from the Plant Conservation Alliance Alien Plant Working Group on Chinaberry. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown; in your case, Pima County, AZ. In addition to being non-native, it is extremely invasive because of the proliferation of seeds from the tree, some airborne by birds who eat the berries and take the seeds somewhere else to be invasive. And, since it is non-native, we would have no information on diseases and disorders it might have.

 

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