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

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

QUESTION:

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

ANSWER:

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

Esperanza failing to bloom in Odessa TX
September 01, 2009 - I have 3 Esperanza plants that have not bloomed this spring/summer. I live in Odessa, TX. We had about 5 inches of rain in July in one week (very unusual), but they have not bloomed-before or after. ...
view the full question and answer

Plants that smell like chocolate from Coral Gables FL
July 12, 2012 - I am looking for plants that smell like chocolate. I live in south Florida. We are currently growing and testing Berlandiera lyrata. Do you know of other plants whose flowers smell like chocolate?
view the full question and answer

Need small, fast growing trees for privacy screen in Buda, TX.
February 01, 2013 - Please recommend some small, but fast growing, flowering trees to plant along a western fence for privacy
view the full question and answer

Drought Resistant Privacy Screen for North Side of Austin Texas House
July 10, 2016 - We live in the densely populated Mueller development, where there's barely 3 feet from our home to the 6 foot high privacy fence between us and the house next door. Since the houses are 2 stories, we ...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping in the Southern California desert.
October 16, 2007 - We are located in southern California in Lake Havasu. I'm trying to landscape sloping areas. I have arrow weeds (Pluchea sericea) and want to get rid of them permanently. How can I achieve this or...
view the full question and answer

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