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
27 ratings

Thursday - May 01, 2008

From: Killeen, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Planting, Transplants, Watering
Title: Brown, dry leaves on weeping willow tree
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We live in central TX and have just planted a weeping willow tree. Our back yard has a retention pond and ravine that parallels our property and we were told that the weeping willow will do perfectly on the back edge of the property. We planted it just a week ago and now all of the leaves are brown and dry. The edges of the branches are brittle yet approximately 4" down from the edge, the branches are pliable and green. Please help as this is my husbands favorite tree and I would like to save it.

ANSWER:

It sounds like transplant shock, from your description. Even if a tree will go perfectly in a site, it is still going to need some coddling for the first few weeks or months it is in the ground. I hope you have a hose that reaches that far; otherwise, you're going to be hauling buckets of water. A newly planted tree needs water slowly dripped into the new soil until water appears on the surface. This needs to be done every other day, especially since we are getting into the hot season very quickly.

When we probed a little more, we found that although there are 54 members of the Salix genus that are natives to North America, the weeping willow, or salix x sepulcralis, is not one of them. It is a hybrid of the Chinese Peking Willow and European white willow. This USDA Forest Service website has some more information on the weeping willow, including the fact that it is considered invasive in several states, and they don't show it growing at all in Texas. But what do they know? The same site says that the tree is susceptible to several diseases and insect damage, so, hopefully, your tree didn't come with that. We also found an ad for a "Texas weeping willow" which may be what you have, but it didn't give the Latin name for the tree, so we have no idea what that is. Here is a page of images of salix x sepulcralis.

Since the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the planting, protection and propagation of plants native to North America, we don't have any information on this tree in our Native Plant Database. Hopefully, watering as we recommended will perk your tree up. If you suspect it is something else, we suggest you go immediately back to the nursery that sold it to you and ask questions. If the tree was already diseased when you bought it, we would think you should get your money back.

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Aggressive vine with purple flowers in South Carolina
September 12, 2014 - Found an aggressive climbing vine with purple flowers in out vegetable garden. This garden was cleaned and new dirt, mulch and manure was put in in the spring. It was raked out after the infusion of d...
view the full question and answer

Large weed removal in Victoria VA
September 24, 2010 - I have a weed problem. Along my house and garage are several weeds that have grown to small-tree size. I plan to rip them out of the ground as soon as it cools off, but I've done this before and they...
view the full question and answer

Removing non-native plants appearing in Austin in early spring
March 14, 2012 - In order to know which plants to keep and which to remove, is there a source to look up and identify common non-native plants that are seen in Austin about this time of the year (late winter, early Sp...
view the full question and answer

Non-native, and/or invasive bermudagrass, St. Augustine and Pistache from Houston
September 24, 2012 - Our St. Augustine lawn died suddenly this summer from either chinch bugs or grub worms (or both?), and a multitude of weeds and native Bermuda have taken over the area. Now that the weather has cooled...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Habiturf in Austin
May 10, 2014 - I have been trying to establish a Habiturf lawn in my back yard. It is approximately a 1,000 square foot area and this last seeding was the third over about one and a half years. I just recently over ...
view the full question and answer

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