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

Thursday - July 02, 2009

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Browning leaves on Ilex vomitoria in Houston
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Houston, we have a problem!!! I have a number of yaupon bushes that have been in my yard for years that have a large number of leaves turning a solid dark brown color. Any ideas of the cause?

ANSWER:

Any time the condition changes of a plant that has done well on a site for years, we have to ask what has been the change in the environment? Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) is a hardy native shrub. So, what has changed in your yard or what has been done that is different than previous years? The first thing that comes to mind is indiscriminate spraying of herbicides. Someone, you, your neighbor, a landscape contractor, may have been spraying weeds and a breeze drifted some of it onto your yaupons. Weed killers for lawns kill broad-leaf plants, or dicots, because grass is a monocot. Yaupon is a broadleaf plant. The weed killer has no internal instructions about "this broad leaf, not that broad leaf." 

Although yaupons are resistant to almost any natural problem, the bark can be damaged by mechanical impact, such as from a lawnmowever or edge trimmer. If the damage was not too extensive, the plant can probably recover, but you should take steps to avoid that happening again. You did not mention detecting any insect activity, but some of the possibilities are scale (eHow), leaf miners (PlanetNatural), mites (West Virginia University Extension) and aphids (University of Kentucky Entomology).

Since we can't possibly diagnose or recommend treatment at a distance, we suggest you get in contact with the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Office for Harris County.  They are far better equipped to deal with pest and disease problems in a particular area than we are.

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Further question on sprouts from holly tree in Surprise AZ
November 16, 2010 - Thank you Barbara Medford for your response to my question about the sprouting holly tree in Surprise AZ. I took for granted that the tree I was talking about was a holly tree. I looked at pictures of...
view the full question and answer

Adventitious sprouts from Live Oak in Dallas
February 26, 2011 - How do I kill Holly growing in my yard? I have a Live Oak tree growing in my Bermuda grass lawn. The holly grows under the tree from the trunk extending out about 12-15 ft. It grows right in with the ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with a Cercis (Redbud)
August 25, 2014 - Half of my redbud tree is pooped out looking. On two places on the bark are areas where a few layers of bark have pulled back. In these areas there are white growths.
view the full question and answer

Verticillium wilt in catalpa and maple
July 17, 2008 - On Monday - July 07, 2008, you answered a question about a catalpa and maple with the same problem--an entire branch died, and then more of the tree died. And both trees came from the same nursery. Th...
view the full question and answer

Problems with a two year old persimmon tree in Fredricksburg, TX.
May 22, 2013 - Hi Mr/Ms Smarty Plants, We planted a 4-ft Texas Persimmon, Diospyros texana, 2-years ago, with wonderful leaf and fruit production since. We recently had a hail storm (5/9/13) and although mos...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center