Rent Shop 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

Monday - December 30, 2013

From: Kenosha, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs
Title: New Jersey Tea shrub wilting and losing leaves
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I have New Jersey Tea shrubs transplanted last spring from nursery stock (18 tall, grown local) I live in SE WI. They are planted in part shade. There has been 6" of snow on the ground for weeks now. They still have green leaves on them. They are just beginning to brown and wilt. I also have some in full sun.They lost leaves last fall. What gives?

ANSWER:

Since Ceanothus americanus (New jersey tea) is a deciduous shrub, you would expect that all the plants would lose their leaves as the ones did that you are growing in full sunlight.  I suspect that those plants growing in partial shade are suffering from wet feet.  New Jersey tea is known to require good drainage, and its failure to behave normally may indicate insufficient oxygen in the root zone.  I suggest that you clear away the snow around each plant, drive some 1 inch diameter holes into the ground just outside the root zone, and put sand or crushed granite into the holes. Do anything else that you can to improve drainage.  Later, when Spring weather makes gardening more practical, replace some of the soil near the plants with a looser mix of soil, sand and compost if your present soil seems to retain too much water.

 

From the Image Gallery


New jersey tea
Ceanothus americanus

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Need to find a place to buy Western Soapberry in Paris, TX.
May 05, 2012 - Where is the closest place to purchase a Western Soapberry tree?
view the full question and answer

What is the sticky stuff coming out of the trees in Austin?
October 06, 2009 - Hello - I live in Austin TX, and in the past half month or so, have been noticing much sticky, sweet sap being exuded from trees. In a normal year I only notice the crepe myrtles doing this, but this...
view the full question and answer

Problem with Habiturf. Is it dormant or dead?
July 24, 2013 - We planted habiturf in spring 2012. It's beautiful. But since last summer, we have had one area that seems to go dormant much more rapidly than the rest, even though it receives the same amount of ...
view the full question and answer

Giant black and yellow wasp
September 08, 2008 - I live in Elgin, Bastrop County. This Aug/Sept. 2008 has revealed a huge black and yellow striped wasp. What is this creature and where does he come from? I'm a native Texan (Austin County) and hav...
view the full question and answer

Mountain Laurels are dying in Georgetown, TX.
April 02, 2012 - Ten year old Mountain Laurels both last year and this spring have had entire branches turn brown just after blooming this Feb. Round Rock Arborist suggested I contact you. Last year one of my laurels...
view the full question and answer

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