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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - July 27, 2007

From: Ventura, CA
Region: California
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Watering, Shrubs
Title: Overwatering and fertilization of whiteleaf manzanita
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi, I have an Arctostaphylos Dr. Hurd, southern California coast, several years old, 10 feet, that has a few large branches with yellowing and spotted leaves... also dropping many. causes? remedy? should branches be cut out?

ANSWER:

Arctostaphylos manzanita (whiteleaf manzanita) is a wonderful shrub or small tree, native in the U.S. only to California. Apparently the "Dr. Hurd" cultivar is the result of hybridization. We were unable to locate any specific references to what might be causing problems for your plant. Some clues we turned up include that it is very drought tolerant and much more garden tolerant in Southern California; that is, it can stand some of the special treatment you will give a garden plant. However, it does not tolerate too much watering, nor water standing around its roots. It needs good drainage so much that it will even do okay in beach sand, but not in salt spray. The cultivar Dr. Hurd also needs full sun, while some of the other manzanita varieties can tolerate some light or partial shade.

If you have not observed any insect infestation, and there has been no disturbance, such as construction or planting, around the roots, our best guess is that you have been treating your manzanita TOO well, watering, fertilizing, etc. as you would do other plants in your garden. Native plants are very tough, which is why we at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower center are so dedicated to their use and conservation. Natives are adapted to the conditions in which they originate, and need less of the kind of attention usually given to plants in the garden. The yellowing leaves, in particular, might lead us to suspect too much water or not good enough drainage. Certainly, don't cut out any branches that are not provably dead. Unfortunately, we can't write a prescription for a medicine that will make your plant all well, so we'll recommend watchful waiting, cut off the sprinkler system if you have one aimed at the plant, and hope its own native strengths will pull it through.

 

 

More Watering Questions

Why do the leaves of my potted Esperanza plant look droopy?
August 13, 2009 - My Esperanza plant leaves look droopy. I have it in a big pot and have for 3 years.
view the full question and answer

Wintering Purple Coneflowers in pots in Springfield MO
August 26, 2013 - I have some 8 month old purple cone flowers in containers on my porch. They did not bloom this summer because they were seedlings when given to me. I can not put them in the ground. How can I keep the...
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of Texas Mountain Laurel
April 15, 2008 - My +/- 4 yr old Tx. Mountain Laurel, has never bloomed. It is in full sun. I sometimes (minimal) fertilize it. I've pretty much planted it and let it grow. Its been pruned back last year when som...
view the full question and answer

New growth on live oaks in Houston
September 27, 2011 - My 2 10yr. old live oaks are putting out new growth (branches?) although, here in Houston, TX we are having such a drought. For the last 3 months, I have conscientiously watered my entire yard via ...
view the full question and answer

My newly planted Mountain Laurel isn\'t doing well.
March 13, 2009 - My mountain laurel was planted from a container in Dec. It is in part sun, clay soil, and its leaves are turning yellow. should I move it or will that kill it?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center