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

Wednesday - April 02, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Wildflowers
Title: Red spider mites in native bluebonnets in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What would you do if the WFC bluebonnets developed a bad case of red spider mites? That is what has happened to many of mine here in Austin. I noticed them the other day and I must have been asleep because they are looking in bad shape. I have never seen this before. The plants badly affected are both in my gardens and out in the native areas. Will I really get on top of them by spraying with the water? Might they move onto my other plants if I do so. I have already pulled several out that were too infested. Can I salvage the rest? Thanks Jenny Stocker

ANSWER:

Have you checked to make sure the problem is truly spider mites? Take a leaf and tap it over a piece of white paper-if you get little red dots, that's spider mites. We're wondering if the problem might be mildew, also. We've been having an unusual amount of humidity (unusual for this area) lately, and if your plants are crowded and/or not getting a lot of sun, they could be having some mildew problems. If it's mildew, obviously you don't want to treat it with a spray of water, as the water would just stand on the plant and make the problem worse. If you do, indeed, establish that it's spider mites, try spraying with a very weak solution of Safer Soap. In either case, the plants will go ahead and bloom and make seed, they just won't look too good.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Identification of gooseberry plant
July 12, 2007 - Grew up in Colorado, our yard and several near us had medium to large size deciduous shrubs that produced small (.25"-.375") red berries that were very tomato-like. Delicate with a thin skin, sligh...
view the full question and answer

Weeping live oak and beetles in Elgin TX
April 24, 2011 - I have a live oak that I just noticed is weeping from a small spot about 3' above ground, foamy and smells like beer, several beetle species attracted. Also some very small insects in the foamy area.
view the full question and answer

Are Ashe Junipers dying from mite damage in Austin?
August 08, 2011 - If Ashe Juniper needles are turning brown and dropping off the trees because of drought, and not disease, do the needles ever come back, or have the tree limbs died? What if the cause is mites, not ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with maple in Denver
June 09, 2011 - I live in Denver, CO and planted an Autumn Blaze maple three years ago. It has done very well until about a week ago. The leaves are drying out and falling off and earlier today I noticed some bugs ...
view the full question and answer

Pale leaves and brown tips on Tecoma stans in Austin
November 12, 2008 - I have a Tecoma Stans planted in a large galvanized container in a sunny spot. It has grown very fast in the last few months and flowers regularly, but the leaves are pale and the tips are turning bro...
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