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?

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
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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - June 08, 2008

From: Alpine, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Black growth on sotol plants
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My mature sotol plants have a black-like growth on the leaves. Is there any thing I can do to treat what looks like a disease on these plants?

ANSWER:

There are three plants going by the common name sotol in our Native Plants Database. They are: Dasylirion wheeleri (common sotol), Dasylirion leiophyllum (green sotol, and Dasylirion texanum (Texas sotol) . It really doesn't matter which yours is, they are very similar in appearance and culture. One surprising fact; they are not members of any of the cacti or agave families, but of the Liliaceae, or Lily, Family. Furthermore, Alpine, Texas would seem to be an ideal environment for them to grow.

We found two good websites discussing these plants: Texas A&M Horticulture Desert Sotol and Greenbeam.com Dasylirion ssp. What we did NOT find was much of any suggestion of what would be causing the spots on your sotol leaves. However, we have had several inquiries about various succulents and desert plants being grown in gardens that involved similar spots. We have learned from various sources that there are fungi that will attack otherwise very healthy plants if the atmosphere is too humid, or the plants are too well fertilized and watered. The best therapy we can recommend is to cut out the involved leaves, and dispose of the cut leaves so there will be no opportunity to transmit the infection to anything else. Be sure that the drainage in your sotol bed is very good, that water never stands there, and that it is not watered from overhead, except by rain, which has been pretty rare this year. Especially cut out any leaves on the lower part of the plant that are affected, so they will not continue to transmit the problem upward from the soil. These plants are evolved, over millennia, to survive in very difficult circumstances-rocky soil, no shade and very little moisture. It appears that when things get a little too plush for these plants, the very opportunistic fungi will leap in to share the wealth.


Dasylirion wheeleri

Dasylirion leiophyllum

Dasylirion texanum

Dasylirion texanum

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Dying Damianita in Blanco, TX.
June 18, 2015 - My Damianita bloomed its heart out and since all the rain here in Blanco the biggest plants turned brown and look dead. I've trimmed back some and do see green stems. Will they come back? How far ...
view the full question and answer

Trimming oaks and elms from New Braunfels TX
June 20, 2012 - I would like to trim my live oaks and elm trees at the same time, if possible. I think they are American Elms. When is the best time to do this and avoid oak wilt and Dutch elm disease? Should all c...
view the full question and answer

Agarita and Mexican Buckeye not flowering or fruiting.
December 11, 2012 - The Greenbelt behind our home has a ton of agarita and Mexican buckeye, but they never bloom or berry. The pigeon berry is very happily doing both all year. Any suggestions for helping the agerita a...
view the full question and answer

Live oaks exhibiting white foam spots from Round Rock, TX
June 08, 2014 - We have several native very large Live Oak in our backyard, and this summer we have noticed white foam spots on the branches. We live in Round Rock next to the Williamson County Park. The spots look...
view the full question and answer

Control of live oak suckers by cutting
July 23, 2007 - How do I control the Live Oak root suckers? At the moment we are cutting them as they come out of the ground.
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center