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

Monday - June 30, 2008

From: Breckenridge, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Transplants
Title: Decline of non-native weeping willow
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Breckenridge, Texas and last year I planted a Weeping Willow tree on my property. It grew fine and seemed to be very healthy until this month. All of a sudden it has steadily lost all its leaves. They just gradually fell off from the tips of the branches on back to the trunk. I cannot find anything wrong with it, no dryness, no insects or anything I can identify. Can you give me some suggestions as to what I might try to help save this tree? Thanks for your time.

ANSWER:

It sounds like transplant shock, from your description, even though the tree has been in the ground a year. A tree may go perfectly in a site, but is still going to need some coddling for the first year or so it is in the ground. Texas is having an excessively hot, dry Spring and early Summer, and weeping willows are considered water trees. I hope you have a hose that reaches that far; otherwise, you're going to be hauling buckets of water. You will need to monitor the moisture in the soil very closely, and drip water slowly from a hose stuck down in the soil around the roots.

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 some problem that is now emerging. 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 feel there may be a disease or pest problem, you might contact the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Office for Stephens County. This website has contact information, phone numbers and instructions for finding the office. Sometimes being on the scene and able to examine a plant "in person" can detect a problem that we, at a distance, cannot.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

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

Elimination of non-native English ivy in Maryland
March 11, 2009 - I have Old English Ivy sprouting up throughout my side yard. What can I do to get rid of it? Would putting lime down help or Crabgrass control? What would you suggest and the easier the better as I...
view the full question and answer

Rotating a non-native cypress in its hole in Annapolis, MD
April 02, 2009 - I have a follow up question to a Cypress transplant question from December 28, 2008. We trimmed our 5 1/2 foot Dwarf Hinoki Cypress back too far, and now the side facing the street has some bare spot...
view the full question and answer

Does NPIN include non-native plant species?
September 03, 2009 - I'm writing a book on the plants eaten by 12th century Indians of Florida. I'd like to use your site for some of my research. You say all of your plants are native, but then under some listings (wil...
view the full question and answer

A method for killing nandina and ligustrum with herbicide
October 19, 2012 - Is there an effective herbicide that can be painted on the stumps of Nandina and Wax-leaf ligustrum to keep them from growing back? Thanks so much!
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center