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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Sunday - July 13, 2008

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Disease in non-native pittisporum in Central Texas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is there a disease in central Texas (Round Rock) affecting dwarf pittosporum? Specifically, clusters of dead leaves and much leaf drop. Some white, cottony residue on wood but not sure if it is mealybug. Spreading to all pittosporum in my landscape. I have seen similar looking plants in town.

ANSWER:

Pittosporum is native to China and Japan, and therefore out of our range of expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. We encourage the usage of plants native to the area in which they are being grown because they are adapted to the soil, water, and environment. We did a little research and found that, indeed, pittosporum is vulnerable to aphids, cottony cushion scale and mealy bugs, which the site we were looking at said could be treated with horticultural oils. We neither recommend for nor against the use of pesticides, and are not familiar with their uses, especially on non-native plants. Therefore, we suggest you contact the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Service of Williamson County for more specific information on what is going on in your area. Contact information and further links to that site are on their home page.

 

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