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
1 rating

Wednesday - June 11, 2008

From: Ada, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Aging non-native weeping willow in Ohio
Answered by: Barbara Medford


We had a weeping willow now for about 15 years and it was doing fine until this summer. It has new branches sort of but a lot of the older ones are dying. There are leaves of course and they are still budding but it looks rather bare. What could be the problem?


According to our research you are lucky your tree has lived that long. It grows very fast, has brittle limbs, and dies fairly young. This subject has come up several times this year, and we would like to refer you to a Mr. Smarty Plants previous question that we think will cover your situation, also. Please note that question was from Georgia, and that the willow is not considered invasive in Ohio, either. However, this USDA Plant profile of Salix x sepulcralis doesn't show it even growing in Ohio, so that's probably why it's not invasive. It would indicate that the temperatures are not good in Ohio for the weeping willow so, again, you are probably fortunate it lived this long.

Perhaps you would be willing to consider a native tree that might serve as a replacement for your weeping willow. We went to Recommended Species, clicked on Ohio on the map, and narrowed our search by clicking on tree for habit, perennial for duration. You can use the same method to make your own selection of trees or shrubs, and then go to our native plant suppliers site, type in your town and state in the Enter Search Location box, and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies and landscape professionals in your area.

Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam)

Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)

Hamamelis virginiana (American witchhazel)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Carpinus caroliniana

Carya ovata

Hamamelis virginiana

Ilex opaca

More Non-Natives Questions

Problem with non-native peach tree in Willingboro NJ
September 02, 2009 - I have a peach tree in my back yard. The tree was in the yard when I bought the house. I have lived at my address almost six years. This year the peach tree is dripping a thick jelly-like sap from ...
view the full question and answer

Plants to replace hydrangeas in a wet area in New York
July 09, 2010 - Dear Smarty, Two years ago I planted 4 Endless Summer Hydrangas in front of the front porch of my summer cottage on Saratoga Lake. The first year they struggled the second they are limp. Can you give...
view the full question and answer

Clover Among the Bluebonnets in Round Mountain, Texas
April 13, 2012 - I have a beautiful yard of bluebonnets, but mixed in with them are a tall clover that is hiding the flower's beauty and a shorter plant with clover-like leaves that produces burrs. Pulling is not an...
view the full question and answer

Browning leaves on non-native Burford holly
August 22, 2008 - I have several dwarf Burford hollies whose leaves are browning. The individual leaves have colors of green, dark brown to light brown extending from the stem. Any ideas?
view the full question and answer

Non-native textile bamboo for Austin?
June 24, 2011 - I was looking for a non-invasive bamboo to plant as a privacy screen in central Austin. Would bambusa textilis (weavers bamboo) be an ok solution since it is a clumping bamboo instead of running?
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