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

Thursday - April 23, 2009

From: Fort Worth, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs
Title: Yellowing leaves on yaupon in Ft. Worth
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I planted a Pride of Houston Yaupon Holly in January in full sun. It is blooming little white flowers right now for spring, but a lot of leaves are turning yellow. Do you know what is causing this? Thank you.

ANSWER:

"Pride of Houston" is a trade name for Ilex vomitoria (yaupon). It may have been bred from selections that did better in the more acidic, sandy soils of East Texas. This USDA Plant Profile map does not show yaupon growing in Tarrant County. That doesn't mean it won't, it just means it is not native to that part of the state. We are guessing that the yellowing leaves are the results of chlorosis, which is the yellowing of leaf tissue due to a lack of chlorophyll. Possible causes include poor drainage, damaged roots, compacted roots, high alkalinity and nutrient deficiencies in the plant. The best way to remedy this problem is in improving the drainage around the roots and making the soil nutrients more available to the roots. The soil in Ft. Worth is pretty alkaline, and amending the soil with compost or some other organic material is the best way to unlock those nutrients. You can begin by working as much compost as possible into the soil around the yaupon, and continuing to add compost periodically. Use either the compost or a shredded hardwood mulch to mulch the root area. As this decomposes, it will continue to improve the soil texture, and permit the roots to access the trace elements, especially iron, that they need to get back the green in the leaves. You didn't say what the light exposure on your plants is, but the yaupon does best in part shade, which we consider to be 2 to 6 hours of sun a day. The amount of light a plant is getting can also affect leaf color.


Ilex vomitoria

 


Ilex vomitoria

 


Ilex vomitoria

 

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Stress on Goldenball leadtrees from Austin
June 07, 2014 - I know of two separate instances where young Goldenball Lead Trees (leucena retusa) have shown symptoms of defoliation and a bleeding of white sap from sores that have developed on the bark. The first...
view the full question and answer

Beneficial earthworms attacked by fire ants
August 04, 2006 - Is there a right way or a trick to releasing earthworms? I have a friend who has an abundance of earthworms in their soil so I took advantage of the situation. I released them in my freshly tilled gar...
view the full question and answer

Danger of oak wilt infestation in trees with storm-damaged limbs
June 15, 2007 - A recent severe storm in Southwest Austin broke large branches and trunks on many Live Oaks in my neighborhood, including my next door neighbors'. Can this invite Oak Wilt? I'm worried about my tree...
view the full question and answer

Declining wax myrtles in Katy, TX
August 24, 2009 - My wax myrtle bushes were thick and green except for a few on the NE side 6 months ago when we bought the house. Now they are thin, leggy, and dropping leaves like crazy. They seem to be dying one bra...
view the full question and answer

Ailing Lacey oak in Austin
August 09, 2010 - I have a five-year-old lacey oak that is about 5 feet tall. Last last spring it became infected with oak phylloxera, which was initially misdiagnosed. I treated it with Neem oil several time but 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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center