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 - 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

Allowing oak leaves to pile up at base of tree from San Jose CA
December 26, 2010 - Greetings, Is it a good idea to allow oak leaves to pile up at the base of our California live oak? Will that cause fungus, mold and rot that hurts the tree? Thanks for your advice.
view the full question and answer

Are brown junipers (Juniperus ashei) dead?
November 08, 2011 - If the cedar/junipers in our area are brown, will they ever come back green? Or just clear them out as dead. There are many of them due to the drought. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Desert willow for Florida?
March 10, 2011 - I, too, am interested in the desert willow tree. I reside in central Florida, 32162. However, Mountain States Nursery does not ship east of Texas. May I have a listing of other nurseries also. T...
view the full question and answer

Live oaks lifting up sidewalks in Palm Coast FL
December 12, 2013 - My live oak trees roots are lifting up my side walks. Can I cut just the roots that are causing the problem without hurting the trees? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Heat tolerant arborvitae for Spring TX
September 20, 2012 - Is there an arborvitae that would be heat-tolerant to Spring, Texas (north of Houston) and amenable to neutral clay soil?
view the full question and answer

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