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

Native plants suitable for rock garden in New York
March 26, 2006 - I'd like to start a rock garden. The area is very rocky, the soil is shallow and it's partially shaded. I'd like mostly perennials that flower from spring to fall. I hope to make some purchases fr...
view the full question and answer

Heirloom plants for Gault Homestead in Austin
April 15, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, The Gault Homestead at 2106 Klattenhoff in the middle of Wells Branch Subdivision is to be planted with heirloom or heritage plants soon. There is some sun for the planter bo...
view the full question and answer

Is Ilex glabra a Good Substitute Hedge for Boxwood?
November 08, 2013 - I am planning a new garden in my yard (Mercer County, NJ). My site is south-facing, average water and average soil. The aesthetic look that I want is formal; a tightly sheared hedge of small leaves ab...
view the full question and answer

Sages in Catasauqua, PA
August 08, 2014 - I want to buy a Texas Sage tree but I live in PA. Can I bring the tree indoors during winter?
view the full question and answer

Leaves turning yellow on Banana Shrub in Eutaw. AL
July 28, 2013 - We have a very large (about 12' tall), very old (probably planted in the early 1900s) Banana Shrub in our front yard. It was very healthy until last year when its leaves began turning yellow and fal...
view the full question and answer

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