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

Sunday - August 03, 2008

From: Indiana, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Dry, brown leaves on non-native weeping willow
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello! I live in Pennsylvania I have 5 weeping willows I planted 3 years ago. All seemed well until last week I noticed suddenly one looks like it might be dying!? All the leaves are dry & brown. The other trees look fine & I want to be sure to stop this from happening to them. THANK YOU for your help

ANSWER:

If it's not No. 1, "What's wrong with my weeping willow?" is right up there close to the top of most frequently asked questions to Mr. Smarty Plants. On today's slate, alone, there are three questions. If you search on "weeping willow" in the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants section, you get ten possibilities. The problem is, the question is the wrong question asked at the wrong time. We wish that gardeners would ask "Should I plant a weeping willow?" BEFORE they purchase and plant it. Non-native to the United States, Salix x sepulcralis is a hybrid of a Chinese species (Peking willow) and a European species (white willow), and is said to grow in Zones 5 to 8 in the United States. It is weak-wooded, fast-growing and, therefore, short-lived. It has aggressive roots, can lift sidewalks and interfere with sewer lines, often growing on soil surface, making a problem with mowing. It is susceptible to a number of pests and diseases, and notorious for littering the ground beneath it. See this University of Florida Extension website on Weeping Willows for more information. Also, in case you think we're exaggerating, see this Q&A from North Dakota State University Extension on weeping willows.

Both of the referenced websites will give you a number of things that could be wrong with your willow. The only site we found that specifically mentioned dry, brown leaves on willows is this one from the Government of Canada Forest Invasive Alien Species Willow Scab. The scabs, recognizable by the browned or blackened foliage they cause in infected trees, are fungus diseases. In the case of willow scab, a fungus is the cause. The fungus initially attacks the leaves from the twig up, turning it blackish or brown, and the leaf dies. It can be followed by canker and, ultimately, the death of the tree. On the spot examination by a competent arborist is probably the only way to know what is really causing the problem and what to do about it. You might also contact the Penn State Cooperative Extension Service for Indiana County.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native hylocereus undatus for Austin
February 24, 2012 - Can we plant Hylocereus (Dragon Fruit) here in Austin, TX? We are going to have a large xeriscape bed and want to know what all we can put in it. We are new to Texas so we have no clue what grows here...
view the full question and answer

Native alternatives for non-native, invasive bamboo in New York
March 26, 2006 - I hope you can help me. This is not about wildflowers. I'm interested in planting bamboo as a screen (25'+). I know all the pros/cons and would need to have a nursery to put in barrier. I need some...
view the full question and answer

Gardening in Bahrain
June 07, 2011 - Hey, I'm living in Bahrain where the climate is really hot and the soil is kinda very salty. I've got my mango tree in the ground already, transferred it 2 months ago from the pot. I've noticed the...
view the full question and answer

Problem with crapemyrtle shoots in Victoria, TX
May 13, 2009 - I have a problem with crepe myrtle shoots coming up in my flowerbed. I had to remove a large crepe myrtle tree (18" diameter stump) and digging out the stump was not possible. I killed the stump wi...
view the full question and answer

Non-native eleagnus from Jesup GA
January 17, 2014 - An elderly farmer has told me about a plant called Alley Agnes, but I can't find any plant by this name anywhere. He doesn't know another name for it, says it's what everyone has always called it i...
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