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

Thursday - June 25, 2009

From: Brooklyn, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Pests, Shrubs
Title: Blueberry bushes failing to leaf out in Haines Falls, NY
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Blueberry bushes planted in spring in upstate New York; no leaves, only the stem. How do we know if they are alive? Blueberries do very well in that area known as Haines Falls, New York (mountain area).

ANSWER:

There are four plants native to New York with "blueberry" in their common names:

Vaccinium angustifolium (lowbush blueberry)

Vaccinium caespitosum (dwarf bilberry)

Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)

Vaccinium uliginosum (bog blueberry)

Of these, Vaccinium angustifolium (lowbush blueberry) and Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry) are found growing in Greene County, NY, where Haines Falls is located. 

In answer to your question, how do you know if they are alive, do the thumbnail test. Scratch a thin layer off the bark of the branches. If there is a thin layer of green beneath that, the bush is alive. Work your way down from branch tips until you find some green. If you don't, as late in the year as it is, the plant is dead. The only indication we found on these plants that might explain leaflessness is that they are favorites of browsers, which probably would be deer in that part of the state. Deer generally won't browse stickery plants, but they would probably have no problem in nipping off fresh green leaves.


Vaccinium angustifolium

Vaccinium corymbosum

 

 

 

More Pests Questions

Replacing Weeds with Native Plants in Dallas Area
May 29, 2011 - I have a large oak tree in my front yard and lots and lots of miscellaneous weeds (clover, chickweed, stickers, etc.). I am wanting to grow grass in my front yard, that is shaded pretty much most of t...
view the full question and answer

What flowers will ducks and swans not eat?
January 11, 2009 - I live by ducks and swans. They love eating my flowers. Any suggestions on what flowering plants they won't eat?
view the full question and answer

Mosquito repellant plant?
January 18, 2009 - Is there such a thing as mosquito repellent plants? If so, what are they?
view the full question and answer

Black walnut herbivory
June 13, 2005 - We moved to Texas just about a year ago and have loved it here. This past January we visited the Wildflower Center and obtained some black walnut seeds. Up until last night the tree was doing well p...
view the full question and answer

Small white bugs on indoor hibiscus in Ohio
November 25, 2008 - My Hibiscus has small white bugs on the leaves with small white residue. Looks like very small pieces of white rice. This white rice is also covering the UNOPENED buds and making them fall off. It ...
view the full question and answer

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