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 - 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

Caterpillars devouring Blue Wild Indigo in Jesup GA
September 05, 2011 - I have a false blue indigo growing in my garden. Every spring it gets defoliated by Genista moth caterpillars. It usually doesn't put out new growth until the next spring. This summer, it has put ...
view the full question and answer

Help for Collapsing Tradescantia
August 14, 2013 - My tradescantia has completely collapsed at the crown. The stems are yellowish. This happened once before when I had it planted in full sun and I just had to discard it. This time I have one plante...
view the full question and answer

Black Sap from Live Oak in Austin, Texas
April 20, 2015 - We live in South Austin and our neighbor has several beautiful, enormous Live Oak trees whose canopies hang over into our yard. This past week, they've begun dripping some sort of black sap all over ...
view the full question and answer

Striped caterpillars on Cornus sericea (redtwig dogwood)
September 07, 2011 - My red-twig dogwood has white/black striped caterpillars that congregate on the underside of the leaves and they are stripping the leaves. What can I do? They almost look like Monarch butterfly larvae...
view the full question and answer

Identification of strange tiny creature in plant water
January 14, 2010 - I have a house plant rooted in water. I has been for over a year and the plant seems healthy, I change the water often and keep it clean. I now have noticed that something is growing it. A fish type o...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center