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?


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

Friday - June 22, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs
Title: Vascular wilt in Rhus virens
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus


Hi Smarty: Our evergreen sumac grew beautifully this spring (it is about 2 years old -- we got it at the LBJ Wildflower Center plant sale). Then its leaves suddenly drooped last month (May) and turned purplish or brown and it basically died very quickly. We have had lots of rain, including one rain event that sort of flooded the sumac because the gutter overflowed. Still, I can't believe it would up and die from too much rain (we did not water it). I asked you the wax myrtle question a couple weeks ago. The sumac was near the wax myrtle. Maybe it got that fungus too? I saw very little powder on it. Sincerely: Color Me Confused in Austin


Rhus virens (evergreen sumac) is susceptible to vascular fungal disease, also called vascular wilt; but given your recent problem with your wax myrtle, we suspect something else could be going on here. Is it possible that you or one of your neighbors has recently used herbicides that could have accidentally made their way through the runoff from the rain to your plants? It might be a good idea to contact the Travis County Extension Office about having your soil tested or testing the affected plants for pathogens.



More Shrubs Questions

Trimming a rock rose in Richardson TX
March 11, 2009 - I have a Rock Rose (Pavonia lasiopetala)in my garden. I cannot find any information on how to trim or whether I should trim this plant. If so when? Mine is pretty much growing all over the place and...
view the full question and answer

Small evergreen shrubs for horse barn in North Carolina
September 26, 2009 - I want to plant some low growing evergreen shrubs in pots in my paddock around my barn. The horses can occasionally be in this are but not for an extended time. I am in NC. Any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Forestiera pubescens blooming in July
August 07, 2012 - I have a lot of what appears to be Forestiera pubescens. They are covered with the dark blue/black berries and flowers. Apparently they are blooming again in the middle of July. I live about 35 mile...
view the full question and answer

Inadvisability of introducing American Beautyberry to Michigan
November 25, 2005 - I recently brought back to Michigan from Florida 2 young beauty berry plants. I currently have them in a pot inside my home. They are growing quite well, and show a hearty appearance. What are th...
view the full question and answer

Is Viburnum rufidulum monoecious or dioecious?
July 28, 2014 - Is Viburnum rufidulum monoecious or dioecious? Your database does not address this for most plants.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center