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

Tuesday - March 25, 2008

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Diseases and Disorders, Propagation, Seeds and Seeding, Shrubs
Title: Problems with Eves necklacepods (Styphnolobium affine)
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Mr. S-P, I urgently need your advice regarding two Eve's necklacepods that appear to be dying. They are in two completely different areas of my yard. One began leafing out and then the leaves shriveled. The other has not leafed out, and the stems of both are turning black. They survived last year's monsoons, but I do suspect poor drainage, as they are both on spots that get lots of runoff (although it doesn't puddle there). Could this be the problem? Can they be pruned way back and moved? Do you know what pathogens they might be susceptible to? I use no poisons in my yard.

ANSWER:

You may have managed to stump Mr. Smarty Plants. In the first place, this plant is in our Native Plant Database as Styphnolobium affine (Eve's necklacepod) , but in several other reference materials it was called Sophora affine, thus making it more nearly related to Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel). We know a little more about the Texas Mountain Laurel-that it is very difficult to transplant, with very long roots that are easily damaged, causing the plant to go into shock and die. You didn't say when your plant was put into your garden, or if it was a transplant, but if the same conditions hold for the Eve's necklacepod, that could be causing your problem.

Styphnolobium affine (Eve's necklacepod) must have a well-drained planting spot or it will get chlorotic, indicating an iron deficiency, causing a diseased condition in green plants marked by yellowing or blanching. This USDA Plants Profile shows the counties in Texas where the plant is known to grow; since Pflugerville is in the northern part of Travis County, we can assume that your plants have a right to be there. We also know that Central Texas has the challenge of caliche, clay dirt and lots of rocks, and a very alkaline soil. Alkaline soils can deny the access of the plant to trace elements, such as iron and magnesium, which the plant needs, and thus, chlorosis.

So, we haven't really found the answer to your question or a solution to your problem. You are probably correct that poor drainage and last year's very uncharacteristic rains have caused the problem. One of the best ways to correct these deficiencies is to incorporate humus, as in compost, into the soil. Sadly, it's probably too late to do that for your trees. Right now, watch and wait may be the order of the day. If they do die, replacing them by propagating from seed, and planting them into a well drained spot with lots of organic material might give them a better chance to succeed.


Styphnolobium affine

Styphnolobium affine

Styphnolobium affine

Sophora secundiflora

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Advisability of trimming oak trees in August
July 13, 2007 - In general,what is your opinion on pruning oak trees in August? If it is positive, should the extreme moisture of this year affect the timing?
view the full question and answer

Chlorosis in sycamore in Kyle TX
August 04, 2011 - I'm trying to assist an elderly neighbor of mine with a plant issue. We have designated street trees in this community, our street being a Sycamore. The previous foreman out here called it a Mexica...
view the full question and answer

Film growing on prickly pear from Austin
September 28, 2012 - We've just xeriscaped our front & back yards. Two of the spineless prickly pear cacti have a beige film growing on the paddles. The film is now moving further up the cactus, and one of the upper pad...
view the full question and answer

Trumpet creeper with ants in Belchertown MA
July 23, 2011 - My Campsis Vine is having one of the maximum blossom years it gets after a good pruning. This year, I have black carpenter ants on the blossoms and the flowers are rotting from the edges down on some...
view the full question and answer

Oak Wilt in Georgetown, TX
November 17, 2014 - We have lost several live oaks to oak wilt. Another couple are dying but still have some green leaves. Is it OK to cut down these trees now or should we wait until they are entirely dead? I've heard ...
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