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?


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

Thursday - October 18, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Flameleaf sumac problems
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have three flameleaf sumacs, which were planted last December. One is doing very well, but two are losing their leaves. First, black spots appear on the leaves, then the leaves turn yellow and wilt, and then they turn black and fall off. Can you offer any suggestions?


Rhus copallinum (winged sumac), also called flameleaf sumac, is considered a drought and pest resistant native shrub, excellent for this area. However, we had a very strange summer, with a lot of cool weather and moisture for two months and then summer came back with a vengeance and doesn't seem planning to leave. Mr. Smarty Plants was asked a similar question about a relative of the Flameleaf sumac, Rhus virens (Evergreen sumac) and you can follow this link to our answer. As we noted in that answer, it could be that the plants in your garden need some trimming for more air, and checking their drainage to make sure they are not standing in soggy soil. Because it is a native, the sumac usually gets along very well in this part of the country. Another consideration is that the Rhus copallinum (winged sumac) is deciduous as opposed to the Evergreen sumac, which is not. Perhaps partly because of the weather this year, your sumacs may have chosen to drop their leaves a little early. Hopefully, time, patience, normal (for Texas) weather, and perhaps a little attention to drainage around the roots of your plants will get everything back to what you expected from your plants.


Rhus copallinum



More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Problems on Prickly Pear Cactus in Illinois
November 19, 2014 - I have a fungus on my prickly pear cactus that is not a bug. I tested it and my fingers didn't turn red when I squeezed them. So how do I get rid of this as it is spreading to my other cacti?
view the full question and answer

Ruffly foliage on native lantana
November 05, 2013 - A native lantana in my front yard has developed ruffly foliage on one stem. It looks like miniature broccoli. What can this be?
view the full question and answer

Keeping dogs and cats out of flower gardens
March 02, 2009 - Do you have any suggestions to keep the cats and dogs out of my flower garden? They either just walk through it, and trample everything, or sleep on the soft blooms and squish everything. I am despe...
view the full question and answer

Death of mature tulip tree in Raymond IL
June 06, 2010 - We have a mature tulip tree that leafed out and looked very healthy then all of the leaves turned brown and fell off. I think the tree is now dead. We live in the country and have a corn field behind ...
view the full question and answer

How to correct Anacacho leaves that are turning brown and curling in Driftwood, TX?
May 11, 2012 - Anacacho lunarioides leaves are turning brown and curling,how do I correct?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center