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

Problems with non-native citrus trees from Mesa AZ
January 13, 2014 - We have one valencia orange tree and one naval orange tree in our Mesa, AZ yard. Just noticed some oranges on both trees have a 1/4 inch diameter hole through the skin and the orange fruit and skin a...
view the full question and answer

Chipmunk in the garden.
August 27, 2008 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a rogue chipmunk this year (never had one before doing this) who is eating roots and digging holes in all my plant containers. I have tried Plant Skyd (excellent deer r...
view the full question and answer

Is post oak resistant to oak wilt from Dallas TX
November 22, 2013 - I am confused. The NPIN website says that Post Oak IS susceptible to oak wilt, but all the other information I have been able to find says that it is resistant to oak wilt and rarely gets the diesase....
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Callery Pear tree from Louisville KY
June 03, 2013 - I have a Cleveland select that has a bark issue. It is on its second season and I just saw this. It looks like the bark is bubbling up kinda and then wants to peel off the main trunk. I have a picture...
view the full question and answer

Need help controling suckers from an ornamental plum in San Pedro, CA.
August 10, 2010 - I have an ornamental plum tree in my garden which produces a lot of suckers in my vegetable beds. I do not want to use harmful chemicals and cutting them back is a hopeless venture and leaves small...
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