Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - April 01, 2008

From: Omaha, NE
Region: Midwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs
Title: Reason for die-back of native Mahonia repens
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have several mahonia repens plants planted on my property. This is the third spring for them and I have noticed that they look like they might be dying out. The leaves have turned brown and are curled. Some of the plants have actually lost their leaves. Are they in fact dying or was it some kind of winter kill?

ANSWER:

Mahonia repens (creeping barberry) has medium water use. Overwatering and lack of water can both cause the type of damage you are asking about. According to the USDA Plant Profile on this plant, it is naturally located only in the northwest corner of Nebraska. Since Douglas County is on the eastern edge of Nebraska, there may be a soil issue involved. Mahonia repens does best in rich sandy, chalky or granitic soils, which may not be available in eastern Nebraska.

Mahonia is susceptible to rusts and leaf spots. Chlorosis (lack of iron) can be a problem in acidic soils. Leaf scorch may occur in winter, especially when plants are grown in exposed areas. Occasional insect visitors include aphids, scale and whitefly.

This University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension County Offices website will give you contact information for the Douglas County extension offices, which can probably give you more definite information on the type of problem you are having, and whether it is something that can be fixed.


Mahonia repens

Mahonia repens

Mahonia repens

Mahonia repens

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Seven foot privacy fence in Tucson
November 25, 2014 - I am looking for a privacy hedge for a home in Tucson, Arizona that will be in full sun. Needs to be at least seven foot tall and low water and maintenance. Any suggestions.
view the full question and answer

Inadvisability of introducing American Beautyberry to Michigan
November 25, 2005 - I recently brought back to Michigan from Florida 2 young beauty berry plants. I currently have them in a pot inside my home. They are growing quite well, and show a hearty appearance. What are th...
view the full question and answer

Native flowering plants for Frisco, Texas
August 12, 2015 - Hi There, I recently moved from Ohio, Cleveland to TX, Frisco. Could you please suggest me native flowering plants in my back yard and front yard. I like different flowers.
view the full question and answer

Spots on leaves of Esperanza from Dallas
May 30, 2012 - Have a new 1 foot high Esperanza. It is flowering OK (so far) but it has small rust colored spots about the size of a B-B all over most of the leaves. On the top side of the leaf the spot is depress...
view the full question and answer

Mountain Laurel having trouble in AZ
June 07, 2011 - A Sophora secundflora (Texas mountain laurel) was planted to an Arizona north faced front yard last year in August under full sun. Starting early this year, I noticed its leaves turn to light green an...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.