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
3 ratings

Wednesday - May 14, 2008

From: Kyle, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany, Diseases and Disorders
Title: Yellowing of palm tree leaves
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I want to know about palm trees. The leaves are turning yellow.

ANSWER:

There are more than 2,500 plants in the palm family worldwide, but only about a dozen are native to the United States. We went looking in the Native Plant Database for palm trees that would be native to Texas and, therefore, could reasonably be expected to grow in Hays County. Of course, you may have a non-native palm, but they are probably closely enough related that what would cause leaf yellowing in one would cause it in others. The two Texas native palms we found are Sabal mexicana (Rio Grande palmetto), also called Sabal Texana, and Sabal minor (dwarf palmetto). We also found a website from TreeHelp.com, PalmTree Care. On that same site, there is a section on diseases of the palm tree, of which one is called Lethal Yellowing. We very much hope that is not the problem your tree is suffering, because it seems pretty serious. Read that section and the description of the symptoms, and you can make the decision whether that is the diagnosis.

Hopefully, your palm tree has just a normal occurrence of yellowing leaves, which can be caused by a number of different problems in most plants. We recently had another question on this, and you might want to read this previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer. Since we don't know exactly what palm you are growing, how recently it was planted, or in what environmental conditions it is growing, we could hardly hazard a guess. We hope you have enough information now that you can make an on-the-spot judgment on whether this is something that needs to be treated or can be ignored. And we hope you don't have to abandon your tree! If the problem appears to be wide spread and you know of others having the same indicators in their palm trees, contact the Hays County Extension Office for more localized help.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas palm
Sabal mexicana

Texas palm
Sabal mexicana

Dwarf palmetto
Sabal minor

Dwarf palmetto
Sabal minor

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Shade Loving Plants for Under a Black Walnut Tree in Rochester, NY.
May 09, 2015 - Please advise on plants that will grow in the shade under a black walnut tree in Rochester, NY.
view the full question and answer

Weeping live oak and beetles in Elgin TX
April 24, 2011 - I have a live oak that I just noticed is weeping from a small spot about 3' above ground, foamy and smells like beer, several beetle species attracted. Also some very small insects in the foamy area.
view the full question and answer

Problems with blueberries from Kernersville NC
April 29, 2012 - My blueberry plants have no leaves or scrawny ones. I have 13 plants, 5 of them are like this.
view the full question and answer

Brush cleaning fluid used under non- native Loropetalum in Roswell GA
September 25, 2010 - My painter cleaned their brushes under one of my Black Diamond Lorpetulum and it is wilting "BAD." Is there anything I can do?
view the full question and answer

Time for trimming oaks from Boerne TX
July 03, 2012 - I want to trim a native red oak but am scared to touch it because I dont want to lose it. It is the primary source of shade in our back yard. Also I want to trim the live oaks and am surrounded with O...
view the full question and answer

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