En Español

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
2 ratings

Monday - August 06, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Effects of drought and insects on junipers
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

We live on acreage about 18 miles southwest of Austin. Ever since we moved here about 6 years ago, we've noticed that our mature Ashe junipers seem to be in some sort of decline with foliage gradually turning brown and dropping, or in many cases dropping green branch tips at an abnormal rate. No one seems to know what is wrong. Some of our big trees have died, and others appear to be dying. Do you have any idea what could be causing this, and is there anything we can do?

ANSWER:

The state's climatologist has declared that the prolonged drought of the past several years has been broken since we have received record rainfall this spring and summer. Your trees could be suffering from the extended drought. The lack of water in itself is bad for the tree, of course; but, secondary effects from too little water are also deleterious in that the trees are more susceptible to diseases and pests. If it was the drought, you can hope that the recent rains and continued normal amounts of rainfall will remedy the problem.

Mature Ashe junipers do not like changes in their root zones and are unable to quickly respond to those changes. They are particularly susceptible to increased moisture around their roots. If you have made changes to the way water runs off your land or if you irrigate, you may have inadvertently hurt your trees.

Juniper budworm has been a problem on Ashe juniper in your area in recent years. This is a possibility.

Another possibility is that spider mites might be attacking your trees. If that is the case, the rains might have alleviated your problem as well.

You might want to have a chat with someone with the Texas Forest Service about your problem. They, too, have an Ask the Experts feature on their web page.

 

 

More Trees Questions

Wildlife and bird friendly hedgerow for Chicago suburb
November 30, 2013 - Want to plant a wildlife/bird friendly hedgerow in suburban Chicago. Looking for a recommended mix of understory trees as well a shrubs and grasses. Site is part shade with average to wet soil and tr...
view the full question and answer

Can a Texas Mountain Laurel be grown in Drake CO
August 22, 2010 - I live in Colorado, in the mountains near Estes Park, and would like to plant the Texas Mountain Laurel. Can they be grown in this environment. I would be willing to grow them in containers so I could...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of fern-like tree in Tennessee/North Carolina
June 17, 2011 - Was on my way to Hilton Head and noticed near the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, there was a tree standing about 4 feet tall. Thin straight trunk and at the very top was fern looking foliage...
view the full question and answer

Mid-sized tree that does not attract moths for Katy, TX
December 25, 2010 - I recently started to get interested in gardening. I live in Katy Texas and am looking for a medium sized tree I can grow in my backyard. I don't mind a tree that attracts birds or butterflies but I...
view the full question and answer

Shade Tree for Sunny California Yard
April 03, 2015 - I am getting ready to sell my home in Van Nuys, California. My home had a beautiful fruitless mulberry that had to be removed. My front door faces west. The house is now very hot. I would like to know...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center