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 Diseases and Disorders Questions

Control of Fusarium wilt on Wax Myrtle
March 05, 2011 - Do you have any new reports on how to control the Fusarium Wilt disease to Wax Myrtle Plants?
view the full question and answer

Possible causes for plant problems in East Texas
September 06, 2007 - I have been an avid gardener for over 35 years in Texas.I love the wildflowers and use them extensively in my 2 acre plot here in East Texas. There is something really bad going on with my garden: pl...
view the full question and answer

Cottony infestation on Turk's Cap in Austin
July 05, 2010 - The Turks Cap in my front planter is well-established and, overall, happy and blooming. However, some of the top leaves, those in the most shaded area, have what looks like a thin, loose layer of cot...
view the full question and answer

Reason for decline of Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) in Virginia
March 30, 2007 - We have Wax Myrtle bushes in our back yard. They were about 2 feet tall when planted 2 years ago and now are about 7-8 feet tall. The leaves have turned brown and are dropping essentially denuding the...
view the full question and answer

Salt from water softener affecting roses.
October 12, 2007 - I have a water softener at my well and wonder if an accumulation of salt over time is causing problems for my roses. After several years of doing really well the branches turn brown and eventually die...
view the full question and answer

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