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

Monday - April 02, 2007

From: Placerville, CA
Region: California
Topic: Trees
Title: Disease and soil disturbance effects on Pacific madrone
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have a couple acres, here in Northern California Sierra Nevada foothills. My property has many, many trees - quite a few are the beautiful (yet messy!) Arbutus menziesii, or Pacific Madrone. Some are old, large trees, you can tell have been around a while. The past year they have gotten sickly, and not just on my property... in this area as a whole they have died back, their leaves dying and falling, their bark turning black. I am afraid that my Madrones will all die and it will be like I'm living on a clearcut! Any info? Suggestions? Anything?! Thanks a bunch

ANSWER:

What a shame! These are one of Mr. Smarty Plants favorite trees. Discover Life from the University of Georgia has a very good description of Arbutus menziesii (Pacific madrone) and factors affecting its health (look for the section 3/4 the way down,"Damaging Agents"). You can also read about Diseases of Pacific Madrone in an article from the University of Washington College of Forest Resources (CFR). In addition to diseases, madrones are very sensitive to root disturbance and greatly resent construction activities and development too nearby.

Mr. Smarty Plants recommends that you contact your county California Cooperative Extension Agent (Placerville is in El Dorado County, I believe) to help you determine the cause of the madrones decline and possible actions you can take to save it.

 

More Trees Questions

Removing grass under oak trees in Pflugerville TX
August 30, 2009 - I would like to use the newspaper-and-mulch method to smother grass under the canopy of live oaks, a bur oak, and a lacey oak so that I can plant natives that will thrive there. However, I'm concern...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Diospyros virginiana
July 29, 2005 - Diospyros virginiana (common persimmon) is, from what I understand, a host plant for the stunning Luna Moth caterpillar which supposedly can occur this far west. Your database entry for Diospyros do...
view the full question and answer

Osage orange thorn in foot in Redford MO
June 01, 2010 - I ran an osage orange thorn through my foot,it is very sore and very red around it. Is that something I might need to see a dr about, or it is just going to be sore for a couple days. It only happened...
view the full question and answer

Replacement of Arizona ash in Austin
October 28, 2011 - We have two Arizona Ashes in our yard that probably have maybe a decade left in them. We want to get a couple new trees started, so they will be well established once the Ashes are near their end. In ...
view the full question and answer

Viability of Cupressus macrocarpa in Arvada, Colorado
October 06, 2008 - Can I plant lemon cypress in Arvada CO, zone 5, as landscaping plant? Can't find zone information.
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center