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

Protecting a non-native Meyer Lemon from Freezing in Austin
January 05, 2013 - What is the best way to protect my Meyer Lemon tree from freezing Austin weather? It has been planted in my yard for 1 year and is about 4 feet high
view the full question and answer

Plant Care for Plumeria
October 15, 2005 - I have a plumeria that is getting too tall for my small patio. How I should cut it back and can start the cuttings into new plants? Does the original plant need any special care when it is cut back?
view the full question and answer

Source for nitrates and phosphorus (P205) for lawn care
July 04, 2008 - I recently supplied soil samples from my back yard to my local extension here in Austin. I have a hybrid Bermuda turf grass (TIF 419) that has had its share of ups and downs, and wanted to assess the ...
view the full question and answer

Covering dead arborvitae with non-native ivy from Niles MI
April 14, 2013 - I have a severely thinning arborvitae hedge. It is probably too shady, but I want the privacy. I'm thinking of planting something like ivy to fill the gaps. I know it will probably kill the hedge, bu...
view the full question and answer

When (and whether) to plant non-native red-tip photinia in Austin
October 30, 2011 - With the current and forecast drought I'm wondering if the usual rules about when to plant might change. I'd like to plant red-tip photinia.
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