En Español

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

Tuesday - May 13, 2014

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Shrubs
Title: Webs on limbs of evergreen sumac from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have a mature Evergreen Sumac (Rhus virens) that has spider webs on the end of some limbs. The end of the those limbs have died although new growth is coming on further up the limb. We live in the west Austin west of Loop 360 in the hills. Do you know what this is and, if so, how to keep it from spreading the rest of the tree? Is it a natural reaction to the drought, possibly? Eddie Sutherland

ANSWER:

The first suspect in this scenario is the spider mite. See this article from the University of California Integrated Pest Management site on spider mites. Compare the pictures and descriptions with those on your plant.

Most frequently, when we hear of webs on plants, we think of webworms of several types. The webs are tents for various forms of caterpillars, frequently the larvae of a white moth. From Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, here is an article on webworms.

Various forms of control suggested included spraying with water or with soapy water. The most freqent tip was to keep the leaf litter beneath the affected plant cleared up year round to deny the moths and caterpillars shelter and breeding grounds.

There is always the possibility that drought-related stress can take a toll on plants and make them more vulnerable.

 

More Pests Questions

Controlling scale insects on hollies
July 10, 2005 - I have a number of holly shrubs at the side of my house. Recently I noticed that they have tiny white spots on them. I looked at several native Texas gardening books, but can't find what I need to t...
view the full question and answer

Varmints disturbing plants in NH
August 04, 2011 - I planted herbs and perennials, then put paper down and bark. At first an animal just disturbed the paper around the plants, exposing it. Today two plants are dug up and are completely gone. No sig...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native yellow lantana from Elgin TX
June 17, 2012 - Why do my yellow lantana buds turn brown and do not open fully? The sprinkler system does not spray onto the lantana.
view the full question and answer

Problems with blueberries from Kernersville NC
April 29, 2012 - My blueberry plants have no leaves or scrawny ones. I have 13 plants, 5 of them are like this.
view the full question and answer

Weedy buffalo grass from Dripping Springs, TX
March 07, 2013 - I have a buffalo grass lawn. It is thin and filled with weeds. I would like to find a solution to improve my lawn. I prefer a native grass but I need to be able to control the weeds and I am not ph...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center