Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

More Shrubs Questions

East Texas Natives and Botanical History
May 05, 2011 - I am looking for flowers &/or flowering shrubs that are native to east Texas, especially that would have been in this area over 100 or more years ago.
view the full question and answer

Scarifying seeds of evergreen sumacs from Lockhart TX
May 19, 2013 - Dear Smarty Plants, We would like to grow our own evergreen sumacs. Consulting Nokes book, How to Grow Native Plants on page 310, it says to scarify fresh uncleaned seeds for 30-45 minutes. On page...
view the full question and answer

How to deal with suckers on Flame-leaf Sumac
May 20, 2013 - Hi! It seems you can have too much of a good thing! Our flameleaf sumac is taking over our yard. There are multiple shoots appearing in our flower beds and in the lawn. How do I get rid of the unwante...
view the full question and answer

Bugs eating new growth on Mountain Laurel shrubs from Dripping Springs TX
April 02, 2013 - What is eating the new growth on my mountain laurel shrubs? One plant has red bugs and the other has black (could they be love bugs?). Is there something I can do to preserve the new growth?
view the full question and answer

A method for killing nandina and ligustrum with herbicide
October 19, 2012 - Is there an effective herbicide that can be painted on the stumps of Nandina and Wax-leaf ligustrum to keep them from growing back? Thanks so much!
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.