En Español

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

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

Monday - June 09, 2008

From: Temple, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests, Trees
Title: Secretions of fluid from crepe myrtles
Answered by: Barbara Medford


On my crepe myrtle tree I have dozens of 1/2-inch-long narrow bugs that seem to secrete tiny drops of fluid. They appear on the branches of the tree. Are these harmful to the tree? Do I need to do anything about this? I live in Temple, TX


It is most likely the offending insects are aphids, as described in this article from the University of California Integrated Pest Management. They vary somewhat is size and appearance, but they all suck liquids out of the plant and secrete it again, usually causing a fungus called sooty mold to appear. They attack many different plants but they really love crape myrtles. Since this problem comes up about this time every year, see this previous answer with the information you are looking for.


More Trees Questions

Coconut in a husk from Round Rock TX
January 26, 2011 - Looking for a coconut in its complete husk ?
view the full question and answer

Newly planted magnolia in Hedron NE
September 19, 2010 - We planted a Magnolia stellata 'Royal Star' in our landscape about 2 weeks ago. It is approx 7' tall. My question is should the leaves on it all be turning brown and crisp already or are doing some...
view the full question and answer

Survivors of a Cedar Elm thicket thinning.
April 12, 2013 - I thinned a thicket of cedar elm saplings, but a few are now leaning excessively. Will they straighten up over time or should I go ahead and cut them too? Thanks!!
view the full question and answer

Planting fruit and nut trees in Mason County, TX
March 02, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have 36 acres 15 miles west of the city of Mason TX. I wish to plant one acre plots of sustainable organic crops that are long term and hardy. (cost and effort not an iss...
view the full question and answer

Can a madrone be used as a house plant from Grand Rapids MI
June 24, 2011 - Can a madrone tree be used as a house plant in Michigan? It is about 10" tall in a gal pot. Can a couple of trees be planted together to become one larger house plant? it's currently in a clay mix.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center