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

Mosquito repelling plants from Euless TX
July 24, 2013 - Are there any shade loving plants that repel mosquitoes for North Central Texas? I checked your site and saw nothing on this topic.
view the full question and answer

Possibility of native plants as natural mosquito repellants
February 08, 2007 - I live in Austin Texas and have what I would consider a mosquito infestation in my garden for most of the year. Are there native plants to this region that are proven to be naturally mosquito repella...
view the full question and answer

Flying insects eating leaves of non-native Brugmansia in Aline CA
October 17, 2013 - I have an Angel Trumpet tree. We live in Aline, California 30 miles east of San Diego. Little yellow and black flying bugs eat the leaves. Do you have a remedy for this problem.
view the full question and answer

Preventing weeds in kinnikinnick in Richland WA
May 29, 2011 - We planted our kinnickinick last Nov. and we live in Richland, WA, where it gets hot in the summer. We planted almost 500 of them on a hillside. Weeding is taking over our lives, to say the least. ...
view the full question and answer

Possible disease on Eastern Redbud
October 06, 2007 - Our Eastern Redbud appears to be suffering from our recent drought. The leaves are turning brown in July/August on a few branches. A few black spots appear on the leaves before they turn brown. Ot...
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