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

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

Poolside plants for East Texas
June 18, 2015 - What are the best plants, shrubs, ornamental trees, etc. for poolside planting in East Texas?
view the full question and answer

Chickasaw Plum suckering potential in Washington DC area
May 11, 2015 - I have planted some chickasaw plums around the border of my property. My property is surrounded by a wooded area, which then opens into a golfcourse. Is there a chance that my chickasaw plums would...
view the full question and answer

Poolside tree for Whitehouse TX
May 29, 2012 - What would you recommend for native shade tree or flowering tree on the north side of a swimming pool in East Texas/Smith County? Trying to avoid too much dropping of flowers, nuts, etc. Looking to ...
view the full question and answer

Conditions for growing Prunus mexicana
March 23, 2007 - Will a native Wild Plum do well in the Cat Spring area west of Houston. The soil is quite sandy. I was told that the plum trees attract deer.
view the full question and answer

Determining gender of Texas Hill Country native trees
August 22, 2006 - How can I identify which (Tx Hill Country) native trees are separate male & female? Specifically Tx Pistache and American Smoke Tree. Do I have to wait until they flower and inspect the flower for c...
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