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
15 ratings

Thursday - August 21, 2008

From: Palo Cedro, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Fungus on trunk of non-native weeping willow in California
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Palo Cedro, CA and have a weeping willow tree with with what appears to be be some type of fungus growing all over the trunk of the tree. It is a brown color and can be broken off in big chunks. It is not part of the tree or root system. Could you please give me your opinion on what it is and if there is anything I can do about it? It is about 20 feet tall and about the same distance wide. It is a beautiful and healthy tree aside from this problem. Thanks for any help you can give. Don

ANSWER:

We found a couple of plant diseases that particularly seem to like members of the genus Salix, or willow. The particular willow you have, of course, is not native to North America, but to China and is Salix x sepulcralis. Willows are weak wood and disease prone, fast-growing but short-lived. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we promote the use and propagation of plants native to North America. In this particular case, it probably doesn't matter if the plant is native or not.

The two diseases that we found that we believe fit the description of symptoms that you gave us are Crown Gall  (University of Maine Pest Management Labs) and Canker (Iowa State University Extension site on Fast Growing Trees).

Images of Canker on willows

Images of Crown Gall

From the description you gave us of the problems your tree was having, we would say the best thing to do is get it down and disposed of before the disease can spread to other plants in the area. If you prefer, you might have a trained arborist look at it, and see if it's worth the effort to try to save it.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Replacements for photinia from San Antonio
August 31, 2012 - i just read your response to someone regarding Red Tip shrubs. You just saved me thousands of dollars ! I was getting ready to order over 250 of these to line my 2.5 acre fence line. What shrub would ...
view the full question and answer

Seed Habiturf on top of existing St. Augustine from Austin
January 26, 2012 - We don't want to rip up an existing St. Augustine lawn (potential HOA problems), but we'd like to go native grasses (like Habiturf?). Is there anything we can just seed on top of our present lawn a...
view the full question and answer

Division of impatiens grown in a pot
December 08, 2007 - I have an impatient and it is growing out of the pot. I was wondering if it were possible to divide it somehow and have two medium size plants.
view the full question and answer

Toxicity of non-native Royal Empress tree
April 23, 2009 - We want to plant some fast-growing trees for shade for my horses. My friend wants to use Royal Empress trees. Can you tell me if these are toxic to horses (and also goats)? I have a lot of clay in t...
view the full question and answer

Non-native bamboo for a privacy fence in Smithville, TX
February 16, 2010 - I am considering planting bamboo along my privacy fence inside my back yard. I like the informality of it and durability. Is it safe for children and pets?
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