Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - May 11, 2009

From: Elgin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Trees
Title: Why are the eastern red cedars in Bastrop/Travis County turning brown?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I live on the Bastrop/Travis county, TX line and have many eastern red cedars on my property. About 10 of them are dying and it has happened quickly with the onset of the warmer weather. I noticed driving along the highway, the countryside is just peppered with brown cedars that are already dead. This is just something that has started happening this year. I've not seen it in years past. For my dying trees that i can reach with the water supply, I've been letting water drip for hours at a time, hoping it is drought related. So far no change though. Any idea what might be happening?

ANSWER:

The eastern red cedar Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar)  is the most widely distributed conifer of tree size in the Eastern United States, and East Texas certainly has its share.

Yours is the second question we have received lately regarding browning of the Junipers, and excerpting from the previous answer, the causes could be:

too much water

too little water

juniper scale (an insect disease)

spider mites

juniper twig blight ( fungal disease)

The websites below have descriptions of the various diseases that may allow you determine the cause of the problem.

The National Forest  Service article on Eastern Red Cedar gives an overview of the biology of the tree and the agents that attack it.

 Kansas State Research and Extension has a down-loadable publication titled "Juniper Diseases" that covers fungal diseases of Juniper.

Clemson Extension has an article titled "Juniper Diseases and Insect pests".

New Mexico State University Extension  has a nice discussion of spidermites.

A source of help closer to home of course is the Bastrop County (or Travis County) office of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service which can put you in touch with the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory.

We would be interested in learning what kind of results you get.

 

 

More Trees Questions

Flowering problems with Mexican Plum and Mimosa in Austin, TX
March 18, 2010 - Greetings, My Prunus mexicana (Mexican Plum) did not produce flowers before its leaves. Can you tell me why? I was hoping to have some fruit this year. Also, as of this morning March 13. My...
view the full question and answer

Oak trees losing leaves in Longview, Texas
August 18, 2009 - One of my oak trees is losing its leaves (it is the first week in August). They are turning brown and falling at an alarming rate. The ground under this tree is covered, but my other trees seem unaffe...
view the full question and answer

Should a tree near a water well be transplanted?
July 31, 2013 - I have a water well and have about a 6 yr live oak planted in close proximity to it( about 10 feet). Would it be wise enough to transplant the tree while its this young or leave it alone. Also I need ...
view the full question and answer

Will deer eat lemon cypress trees from Hayden ID
June 02, 2012 - Do deer eat lemon cypress trees? We do not think so since they are so spiny, but wanted a clarification.
view the full question and answer

Pecan tree dropping dead leaves
August 02, 2014 - I have a very old, tall pecan tree in my yard that has been dropping dead leaves for the last three weeks. My back yard looks like it is the Fall season. Do you have any insight on this?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.