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?


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
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


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.


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 Non-Natives Questions

Differences between Lantana urticoides and Lantana camara
July 13, 2012 - I have found an orange variety of lantana growning in several location in Jefferson County. Is there any way I can tell for sure if it is L. camara or the native L. urticoides?
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of non-native Lamium maculatum
August 01, 2008 - Hello: Approximately 3 to 4 years ago I planted approximately 20 Lamium Beacon Silver plants in a shaded area of my yard, with limited sun. The first year they seemed very hearty and expanded. I ce...
view the full question and answer

Plants looking similar to Camellia sinensis in Venezuela
June 30, 2008 - Is there another plant that looks similar to the tea plant? I need to do a photoshoot of a tea plantation, but canīt really get to one, so I was wondering if there were other plants that at least look...
view the full question and answer

Replacements for non-native purple fountain grass in Austin
September 26, 2009 - Hi-- Just found out that the purple fountain grass I bought (fortunately on sale) is a) not native and b)not perennial. Dang it! If I can find the pots I'm taking it back. I have a part-shade wel...
view the full question and answer

Non-native creeping fig
February 26, 2009 - I like the creeping fig that covers my brick wall but the roots are very invasive and are choking my rose bushes and other surrounding plants. I spent two days removing the roots and loosening the so...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center