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

More on oak problems in Carrollton TX
April 04, 2011 - Thank you for answering me, I will contact a specialist to see if we can determine the cause. but since writing you we have pulled down a small twig to see the leaf more closely, it is more of a reddi...
view the full question and answer

Rose canker in roses on cedar posts
May 24, 2007 - While visiting the wildflower Center I saw that some of the plants were growing on trellis' made of posts cut from cedar trees. I made a trellis for my climbing rose bush and where the stems touched...
view the full question and answer

Mutation in bluebonnets from Elgin TX
April 16, 2013 - What causes bluebonnets to mutate..grow as if three or four are combined into one flower on one very flat, wide stem. I have these in my yard; they are beautiful! I have taken several pictures.
view the full question and answer

Possible fungal infection of oak trees in Mastic Beach, NY.
June 19, 2012 - Sir, I have a yard full of HUGE Oaks. The one in question is about 80' tall 48" in diameter at the base. They are all well maintained fed and trimed and elevated every 3 or 4 years. About 4 years a...
view the full question and answer

Century plant leaves falling over from San Antonio
April 10, 2013 - Have a large century plant about % feet tall. The leaves are falling over. Can you tell me what to do to avoid this.
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