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

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

Delay in fruiting of Mexican plum (Prunus mexicana)
July 20, 2005 - Dear experts, My wife and i are members of your fine organization. Several years ago we bought four things at a spring plant sale for an understory spot in our yard. The Possumhaw Holly, American ...
view the full question and answer

Jelly made from local plums from Amarillo TX
July 29, 2011 - On Wednesday, August 5, 2009 you answered a question on native plants in the Austin area in which you wrote:"Two kinds of local plums have also been used to make jellies: Mexican Plum (Prunus mexican...
view the full question and answer

Privacy hedge for Palm Springs CA
July 04, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants I have a 6 foot block wall, and my house is elevated, and I need a privacy hedge or tree (even flowering) to create more privacy. I do not want to use Ficus as I hear they can d...
view the full question and answer

Identity of wild plum in Childress County, Texas
March 16, 2015 - I have a Wild Plum follow up question. My wife grew up around the Childress TX area. She remembers going around the creeks and gathering Wild Plums for her mother as a child. Would you have any ide...
view the full question and answer

Problems with rusty blackhaw viburnum in Austin
May 07, 2010 - I have a four foot rusty blackhaw viburnum. Last summer the leaves turned reddish and in the late summer most of them fell off. This February the plant started to leaf out and then bloomed. It has ...
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