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
8 ratings

Monday - July 23, 2007

From: Weatherford, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Effect of unusual wet weather on desert willows
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in North Central Texas and have 3 beautiful Desert willow trees that are usually in full bloom. I've kept them pruned to form a nice full tree shape but now they are losing leaves and looking twiggy. We've had a l o t of rain this Spring - could that be the problem? Will the leaves come back if sunshine returns? They're been growing nicely in a Desert scape setting beside our pool with plenty of drainage. Thanks so much!

ANSWER:

Chilopsis linearis, or desert willow, is indeed a lovely large shrub or small tree. It is astonishing when those lilac-colored flowers begin to bloom and the long, slender seed pods are an artform in themselves. There are also burgandy- and white-flowered forms. In spite of the name, it is not at all related to willows, but no doubt was dubbed that because of the shape and growth habit of the branches. Now, what is going on with your plants? Just about anything with the word "desert" in its name is going to be challenged with the kind of weather we have had this year all over Texas. It is native from Southern California to West Texas and into northern Mexico, and has naturalized to the north. The desert willow is accustomed to dry soil and bright sunshine, both of which have been scarce in this part of the country this Spring and early Summer. No doubt, normal conditions will soon prevail, but in the meantime, the fact that the Chilopsis linearis is native to this area means it should be able to tolerate the really strange weather we can have. Native plants are usually very tough and adaptable, that's why they have survived in our somewhat tumultous climate. You can't very well wring out the soil or aim a sunlamp at the plant, but patience and maintaining good drainage around the garden should suffice.

 

From the Image Gallery


Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

More Trees Questions

Small trees for NJ shore
April 22, 2011 - Hello! What's a good native shrub or small tree to feature in my front yard in Brigantine, NJ, on the Jersey shore. Sunny site, dry, sandy soil. The yard is very small. I'm trying to design a l...
view the full question and answer

Neighbor's Arizona ash roots in Houston
September 30, 2009 - There is a huge Arizona Ash tree in my neighbor's yard. Its trunk is about 27 feet away from the foundation of my house and its foliage reaches my roof. I am planning to dig a trench on my side of t...
view the full question and answer

Rash resulting from cutting trees in NC.
May 08, 2012 - My boyfriend was cutting some trees yesterday. He had thorns in his hands after he was done, and today he has a rash on his legs, a fever and he feels like throwing up. Can you tell me if its symptoms...
view the full question and answer

Noise reduction hedge row in Houston
October 01, 2009 - We live just one house back from the freeway and would like to plant a fast growing noise reduction 'hedge row' - close growing to 20-40 ft. We are looking at Leyland Cypress but know they aren't n...
view the full question and answer

Plantings for a slope from New Carrollton MD
June 27, 2012 - My house (Maryland, near DC) sits at the bottom of a south facing slope. The soil is very heavy clay. The grade is about 1:20 for about 100 feet (with a steeper part at the top). Part of the hill is i...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center