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 - June 14, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs
Title: Stem canker or leaf fungus in Morella cerifera
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Dear Mr.Smarty Pants: The upper half of our wax myrtle, which we had allowed (with artful pruning) to reach about ten feet suddenly died this spring (it dropped most of its leaves and didn't sprout any new ones). It is sprouting madly at the base and along its lowest branches. Do you think it was stressed by the ice storm? Or did it not like being trimmed into an ornamental tree shape? There are bugs all over the dead part, but I can't see any bug damage. What is the life span of a wax myrtly? We live in Austin.

ANSWER:

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) is generally resistant to disease and insect problems, though stem canker and a leaf fungus can sometimes attack individual plants. Your plant may have been affected by a stem canker disease. Prune the dead wood back until you find living tissue. Since your plant has already started sprouting from the base, it would be wise to cut back all of the old top to encourage the new growth from the base of the plant. This will also serve to isolate the healthy part of the plant at the base from the diseased material higher up. Judicious pruning of the new growth may also be necessary to keep it thinned and under control.

 

From the Image Gallery


Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Problems with non-native Cleyera and Red-tip photinia
June 01, 2008 - I planted a row of Cleyera in a bed that receives sunlight for about 3 hours during the middle of the day. My problem is that a number of the plants are dying. It begins with the leaves on one small...
view the full question and answer

Repair of broken branch stump on pecan tree
July 18, 2007 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, big fan. Recently one of my pecan trees had a large branch break off, about 4 or 5 inches in diameter. The strange part was there was no clear sign of what caused the damage, i...
view the full question and answer

New Jersey Tea shrub wilting and losing leaves
December 30, 2013 - I have New Jersey Tea shrubs transplanted last spring from nursery stock (18 tall, grown local) I live in SE WI. They are planted in part shade. There has been 6" of snow on the ground for weeks now...
view the full question and answer

Brown dead spots on arborvitae in Hillsboro OR
October 12, 2009 - Hello. I live in Hillsboro, OR and have several mature arborvitae as a privacy screen in my backyard. They are on our side of a black chainlink fence separating our yard from a drainage area maintaine...
view the full question and answer

Problems with winecups in Taylor, TX
May 09, 2010 - I live in Taylor in Williamson County, Tx,. I have wine cups growing. They are lush and blooming, but I am now noticing what looks like spores forming under the leaves and the plants seem to be suffer...
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