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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - June 15, 2009

From: Midlothian, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Why is my weeping willow looking so bad?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

My weeping willow suddenly up and looked like it died Yellow leaves dried up and dropping off It is planted in what is called "Wet lands" Clay soil water wet Just looks like it is dying

ANSWER:

When I search for Salix in our Native Plant Database, I come up with 55 species of Willow, but not Weeping Willow, because it is native to China, and outside the area of our expertise here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica) is a widely used landscape tree that is elegant when healthy, but it is beset by numerous insect and fungal pests. This bulletin from Michigan State University Extension enumerates several problems with willows. To get some idea of the extent of problems with willows, check out the Hortiscope page of the University of South Dakota Extension Service which has numerous questions along with answers from people who are having trouble with their willow trees.

It is difficult, if not impossible for us to diagnose disease conditions from afar, so I am suggesting that you contact the folks at the Chesterfield County Office of the Virginia Cooperative Extension or a certified arborist in your area.

 

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