En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Thursday - September 25, 2008

From: The Woodlands, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Pruning, Transplants, Shrubs
Title: Survival of native yaupon in The Woodlands, TX after hurricane
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

One of my large native yaupons trees (8ft) fell away from a group during the hurricane. I have uprighted and tied it off for stability. Now the leaves are all brown and falling. Is the tree dead or dormant? Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

We are so sorry to hear about the damage in The Woodlands. In reference to your Ilex vomitoria (yaupon), determining if it's dead or alive at a distance is difficult. First of all, how exactly did the tree go down? Did the trunk crack or break, or did roots get pulled out of the ground? Often, yaupon is multi-trunked. Could the fallen portion have been a trunk that was only part of one plant? If the main trunk of the plant is damaged, cracked or broken, even if it was fairly deep beneath the surface of the soil, it probably needs to be removed. The trunk is the carrier of moisture and nutrients to the rest of the tree, and the likelihood of recovery is pretty small. Not only will it probably not recover, but various diseases and molds could attack the damaged area and then move into the healthy part of the tree.

If it appears to have been a separate tree and the roots were pulled out of the ground, you probably gave it the best chance you could by putting them back in the ground. Start by giving it the thumbnail test. Scratch the outer bark of the fallen plant in several places. If there is still green beneath the outer bark, there is some hope for the tree.  It has been subjected to super transplant shock. An eight-foot yaupon could be considered to be pretty mature and to be forcibly transplanted by having its roots yanked out of the ground is obviously cause for concern. The main damage in a case like that is to the tiny hair-like rootlets on the root that have direct interaction with the soil around them. A large proportion of those have probably been destroyed, and will take some time growing back. First, as we always recommend in transplant shock, trim off the upper 1/4 to 1/3 of the tree, to cut down on the load on the roots which are trying to get nutrients and moisture from the soil up to the top. Don't fertilize, plants in shock can't assimilate fertilizer. One bright spot, as we move into Fall, woody plants tend to go into semi-dormancy. Make sure moisture is getting down to the roots, and mulch the root area to protect them from the sun and to help retain moisture. If, by Spring, you're not getting any new leaf buds, it's probably a lost cause. 


Ilex vomitoria

 

 

More Planting Questions

Cultivar of Cercis Canadensis from Haskell OK
May 16, 2012 - We have a Hearts of Gold Redbud that first had dark edges to many of its leaves (about 2 weeks after planting). It now has multiple leaves w/ medium-dark brown spots on them. Are we looking at some ...
view the full question and answer

Digging wild buttercup from roadside in Mechanicsville MD
May 28, 2012 - Mr. Smarty Plants, is it illegal to dig out wild buttercup in Maryland? I see them along the dirt road or just in the ditch. Since buttercup considered weed, I'm wondering what the law say about this...
view the full question and answer

Medium-sized trees for Central Texas
October 25, 2013 - I need some help figuring out what 2 trees to plant to replace 2 trees that are being taken down on Monday. The input we've received from the company doing the tree cleanup is to go with a chinkapi...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestion for a tree with a tap root in Oklahoma City, OK.
October 27, 2012 - I would like to know the best tree to plant in my area that does well. Would like a tap root tree and also a tree that will not mess with my septic lines. Thank you
view the full question and answer

Trees starting to die in subdivision in Hutto, TX
May 31, 2012 - I live in Hutto Tx, in a subdivision where everyone has the 2 trees planted in the front yard. My trees have started to die, and I want to find out what kind they are to find a solution
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center