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

Replacement for non-native Italian Cypress in Austin
July 10, 2011 - I would appreciate your assistance with some native plant options to replace Italian Cypress trees in the Arboretum area of Austin, TX. I have 12 of the trees on the north side of the house to obstru...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Eve's Necklace from Round Mountain TX
April 16, 2013 - We have dozens of small Eve's necklace plants coming up in our large yard. I would like to share them with my friends who aren't so lucky. Many years ago, I tried to transplant one, and it didn't...
view the full question and answer

Need a recommendation for a tree to replace an oak tree in Spring, TX.
September 08, 2009 - I recently had an oak tree removed from my yard and want to replace it with a nice tolerant shade tree. My yard measures 65x35. What are the best non-invasive shade trees to plant in my area?
view the full question and answer

Trees for clay soil from Charlotte TX
August 25, 2013 - We have an area in our yard that even Esperanzas won't grow. It is near another that does great. Six Esperanzas are planted in a north/south row about with 10' between plants, the southern most plan...
view the full question and answer

Searching for an Escarpment Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) for sale
October 16, 2007 - I am trying to find an Escarpment Black Cherry Tree for planting in my yard. Do you know of anyone that carries this particular type of tree?
view the full question and answer

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