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 Shrubs Questions

Evergreen Hedge for Austin
November 28, 2010 - Hello, We live in Austin and have a yard that is almost fully shaded. We have a few burford holly bushes there, but would like to add some evergreen interest. We would love a tall hedge (around 8 ft...
view the full question and answer

Care for California lilacs from Portland OR
January 16, 2014 - Hi There, We live in the Portland Oregon area, so temps are moderate and winters are wet. We have several California Lilacs that are about 7ft in height and have created the perfect screen. Love th...
view the full question and answer

Distinguishing American from Chinese beautyberry from Huntsville AL
August 03, 2012 - How can I tell American beautyberry from Chinese beautyberry when trying to purchase strictly native plants?
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistant Plants for Newton Square, PA
August 25, 2014 - I'm looking for highly deer resistant plants native to PA. Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Large shrub or tree for front door in Houston
January 16, 2013 - I am in search of a shrub or tree to plant next to my front door. I want a showy medium sized shrub or tree (8 to 12 ft), decorative, and a privacy screen since my front door faces my next door neig...
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