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 Diseases and Disorders Questions

Florist Gloxinia Care
October 01, 2015 - Got a florist gloxinia and it was doing great for months. Went on vacation and returned; it was wilted. Think son watered it too much. Allowed it to dry. It has some new leaves forming on the very leg...
view the full question and answer

Yellow-orange fungus on Ash tree in Ohio
July 14, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a large ash tree which started growing some yellowish orange fungus around the base this spring. With this fungus there are also black bugs with a orange marking near i...
view the full question and answer

Native firebush dying in Sun City Center FL
July 17, 2009 - I have a native firebush, it is suddenly dying branch by branch, from the inside out, I have noticed odd things look like wasps but with speckled wings on it. What could be killing it. The inside bra...
view the full question and answer

Problems with hibiscus tree in Wichita Falls, TX
November 10, 2008 - My Hibiscus trees have black spots on the leaves. What might this be and what is the remedy?
view the full question and answer

Sap dripping from a lacey oaks in San Antonio
September 06, 2012 - I have a lacey oak tree, approximately 6 ft. tall that has been in the ground almost a year. The tree looks healthy but there is a small area on the trunk that looks and feels wet. The substance is s...
view the full question and answer

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