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 Shrubs Questions

Duplicate of English holly for Eufaula OK
January 03, 2010 - I wish to have a shrub that would duplicate the red berries and foliage of English holly. Tolerance of cultivation is also desired.
view the full question and answer

What is the bush that has very bright red berries in the fall/winter and no leaves?
December 27, 2015 - What is the name of the bush that has very bright red berries in the fall/winter and no leaves? I am familiar with amour honeysuckle, and I'm sure that it is not that.
view the full question and answer

Selection of a small variety of Desert Willow for SE Texas
August 02, 2011 - Looking to plant desert willow as shrub. Any helpful tips to keep height down and plant full or bushy.
view the full question and answer

Removing existing shrubs from Grapevine TX
September 24, 2012 - We just bought a house and we have some shrubs and hedges we want to remove. What is the best way to remove them so that they don't grow back? We have some holly hedges, a very large cedar or juniper...
view the full question and answer

Small native evergreen shrubs for North Carolina
May 17, 2007 - I live in zone 7 and need miniature shrub to go in flower bed situated in full sun. I love gardenias but afraid the intensity of the sun might be too much.
view the full question and answer

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