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
1 rating

Tuesday - August 05, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Loss of leaves on yaupon in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Last winter I planted a Pride of Houston yaupon. Currently, the leaves at the tips of its stems are green and healthy, but the leaves along the stems are turning dark brown and falling off. Does it need more water?

ANSWER:

This one is a bit of a puzzle. Ordinarily, we think of Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) as being the Iron Man of plants, able to live and prosper in shade, sun, dry, wet. The research we did confirmed that, including that it tolerated most soils and even salt spray, which, of course, is not a threat in Austin. This USDA Forest Service website on Ilex vomitoria lists possible pests as being scale, leaf miners, mites and aphids, but said none are considered a threat to the long-term health of the plant. And if there were some insect or disease, you would think it would affect the leaves on the ends of the twigs as well as those in the center. You didn't say what sun exposure your plant has, but one clue we got was that the crown tended to thin out when there was not enough sun, and it had denser foliage when grown in the sun. So, because we really can't come up with anything else, and because this has been a fierce summer with a whole lot of heat and almost no rain, we're going to suggest that you treat it as transplant shock. First, prune the top about 1/4 to 1/3, thus opening the interior up to more sun and possibly better air circulation. Leave as many green leaves as possible for nutrition. Mulch the roots with a shredded hardwood mulch, which will conserve moisture, keep the roots cooler and eventually decompose to improve the texture of the soil. Now, water. Stick a hose down in the soil around the roots and let it slowly dribble until water appears on the surface. Do this every other day or so. If it begins to improve and perk up, then you can try a little balanced fertilizer, but not until it's doing better. Stressed plants can't take fertilizer.


Ilex vomitoria

Ilex vomitoria

Ilex vomitoria

Ilex vomitoria

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Blackened leaves on purple sage in Utopia TX
December 08, 2010 - I live in Utopia Texas and have a 5-ft. Texas Purple Sage that has developed a black appearance on the leaves. What is this and what can I do about it?
view the full question and answer

Texas Pistachio trees dropping leaves in Austin
June 09, 2010 - I have several Texas Pistachio that are about 13 years old. Despite good rainfall in Travis county this year, they seem to be losing most of their new leaf growth now in early June. Leaves are simpl...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting care of Mayten tree (Maytenus sp.)
November 06, 2007 - I planted a Mayten tree 2 years ago. It's about 8 feet tall. The trunk is about 1-1/2 or 2" in diameter. The earth around it sunk and now there is a "bowl" that fills with water in the rain. I...
view the full question and answer

Control of sooty mold from aphids in Crape Myrtle
February 25, 2007 - I have a crape myrtle in my front flower bed that has a sooty black substance on the leaves and trunk. I've done research and understand this is caused by aphids. My question is how do I get the bl...
view the full question and answer

Death of lantana in Bryan TX
March 28, 2013 - I would like to know what killed several new gold lantana in a single bed that died over the winter. They looked quite healthy last fall. I have several other new gold lantana that survived the wint...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center