En Español

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?


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

Sunday - July 10, 2005

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Shrubs
Title: Controlling scale insects on hollies
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus


I have a number of holly shrubs at the side of my house. Recently I noticed that they have tiny white spots on them. I looked at several native Texas gardening books, but can't find what I need to treat to clear these. I can temporarily remove by rubbing each leaf.


It sounds as if you have scale insects. It could be Holly pit scale, Japanese wax scale, tea scale or some other scale. You can read about these scale insects and more on the Virginia Cooperative Extension page. You can remove the scale insects by wiping the leaves with a cloth soaked in insecticidal soap (available at most nurseries). Rinse the leaves thoroughly after you have wiped the leaves. You can also read more about How to Control Scale Insects on Outdoor Plants.


More Pests Questions

Snail and slug management in Austin
May 27, 2007 - How can you get rid of large snails in the Austin, TX garden?
view the full question and answer

Petals not developing on blackeyed susans from Nashville TN
July 05, 2011 - I have an established "patch" of black eyes susans. This year, the leaves are beautiful, the centers black..but the petals are practically non existent. They didn't seem to develop correctly. Any...
view the full question and answer

Mites in soil of house plants
June 25, 2008 - Hi there! I recently noticed tiny silver mites in the soil of my plants that I only notice after watering. These plants are indoors in on a window ledge (a dwarf palm, aloe plant and Hawaiian Scheffle...
view the full question and answer

Possible disease on Eastern Redbud
October 06, 2007 - Our Eastern Redbud appears to be suffering from our recent drought. The leaves are turning brown in July/August on a few branches. A few black spots appear on the leaves before they turn brown. Ot...
view the full question and answer

Application of sprays to non-native Crape Myrtle from Prosper TX
June 29, 2012 - Can applying a systemic insecticide/fungicide combo prevent or limit Crape Myrtle blooms? I have 5 large lavender Crapes that are not blooming or budding yet and this is the first time I have used a ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center