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

Yucca blades damaged by weedeater in Hellertown PA
July 05, 2011 - Can I cut off the blades of a Yucca plant that have been eaten on the edges with a weed wacker and are very unsightly looking? Can they be cut back to the flower shaft?
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen from Temecula CA
May 04, 2013 - I live in Temecula and need a fast growing tree by our pool that is good to block neighbors house.
view the full question and answer

Erosion Control Shrubs and Groundcovers for Steep NY Wooded Slope
November 28, 2015 - I need to cover a couple of very steep slopes in upstate New York that are partially wooded and near a brook. The slopes are about 130 feet back from the brook. Someone estimated that there is a coupl...
view the full question and answer

Texas native plants for cemetery site
February 09, 2005 - I am trying to landscape my mothers gravesite located in far East Texas (just outside of Nacogdoches) and I am looking for some evergreen bushes or any other decorative plants for that area. I am thi...
view the full question and answer

Arctostaphylos Hanging Basket for Texas
April 24, 2015 - I would like to plant an Arctostaphylos uva-ursi in a hanging basket with a coco liner. Will this work, or will the roots grow too long? it's the 'Massachusetts' cultivar.
view the full question and answer

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