En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - July 08, 2004

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Possibility of root rot in Praire flame-leaf sumac
Answered by: Stephen Brueggerhoff

QUESTION:

I bought a prairie sumac two years ago and it was fine until recently when we had a lot of rain in Austin. Now the leaves are all brown and it appears to be dying. Is there something I can do? I really like this native tree/shrub.

ANSWER:

Prairie flame-leaf sumac, botanical name: Rhus lanceolata (prairie sumac) produces underground stems, giving the appearance of another sumac growing inches to feet away from the main plant. The kind of decline that you are describing sounds indicative of a vascular problems that are due to saturated soils. You may have extensive root rot, which is a little tricky to try and ameliorate once it begins. Given that the plant is prone to sucker readily, you could try digging up the plant (caveat: if it is possible to do so) and transferring it to a pot with well-draining media. I do not recommend applying a fungicide to this plant as it is already stressed from improper oxygen exchange in the root zone. Don't keep the media saturated; rather, be careful and purposeful in your watering if you transplant to a pot, and initially keep the plant out of direct sunlight. Regardless, it might be a good idea to "move" the plant to another well-draining location to avoid decline in times of water saturation.

 

From the Image Gallery


Prairie flameleaf sumac
Rhus lanceolata

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Will Habiturf be chicken feed from New Caney TX
November 21, 2013 - How well does your recommended native turf grass mix hold up against chickens or do double duty as feed? I have a mixed use property that will house Rabbits, Poultry (chickens/duck/geese), and ev...
view the full question and answer

Water seepage problems in basement in Philadelphia
April 09, 2009 - I am interested in stopping/limiting water seepage into my basement by placing water absorbing ground plants along one or both sides. The grass we planted when home was new in July 2007 has taken on o...
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow between patio pavers
March 15, 2013 - We'd like to use poured concrete pavers for a deck. What grows well, whether it be grass or other, between these. We'll have 4-6" between 4 foot pavers. And would love to find something that does...
view the full question and answer

Shade ground cover under honeysuckle from Wichita KS
February 21, 2012 - Hi! I know this is a bit odd, but I am trying to find a nontoxic, good ground covering plant that can live in the shade while competing with the roots of a whole bunch of honeysuckle. I have a few ide...
view the full question and answer

Drought-tolerant turf for Southern California
April 23, 2015 - Is it possible to grow Habiturf in Riverside, California, in the area of UC Riverside? The climate is similar to the desert areas or Arizona, just slightly cooler in the Summer. If not, is there a d...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center