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 Pests Questions

Weird growth on oaks in Middleburg FL
February 05, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants; I have this plant/fungus that grows on my trees here in northeast Florida & nobody has been able to identify it for me. It looks like a clump of pine needles growing on the ba...
view the full question and answer

Controlling scale insects on hollies
July 10, 2005 - I have a number of holly shrubs at the side of my house. Recently I noticed that they have tiny white spots on them. I looked at several native Texas gardening books, but can't find what I need to t...
view the full question and answer

Something damages leaves on Tecoma stans from Austin
November 08, 2013 - Help! Something is chomping my Esperanzas. I thought it was deer but they don't seem to be eating other yellow bells in my neighborhood. I think it's an insect. Something is completely stripping the...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Lantanas
August 06, 2008 - Here at work we have 4 beautiful yellow Santanas(should I say had), the leaves have started to turn brown and no longer blooming. Appears to have a fungus or disease. Please help!
view the full question and answer

Problem with Live Oaks in Mesa AZ
March 26, 2013 - I have two Evergreen Live Oaks in central Arizona. One is flourishing and getting new spring leaves from top to bottom. Its trunk is rough, has large grooves, and the spots where I've pruned look li...
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