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

Ravaged by snails
May 23, 2007 - Our Prickly Pear Cactus is being completely ravaged by snails. Is there something in my yard that could be attracting them? Is there something I can do to keep them off the plant? Also is is safe to...
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

Pests on American Beautyberry from Austin
June 25, 2012 - Something is eating the leaves of my American Beautyberry shrubs. One is almost stripped of leaves on the upper branches. I have looked and can't see any insects or caterpillars. I have also looke...
view the full question and answer

Texas Ash secreting sap in Lockhart, TX
July 05, 2012 - I have what I believe is a Texas Ash in my front yard that is secreting a sap with what looks like some wounds on it with some white stuff and with black and red looking ants as well as it has a lot o...
view the full question and answer

Sticky stuff dripping from non-native crape myrtle in Austin
August 01, 2012 - There is sticky sap-like stuff dropping from the very large crepe myrtle in my yard. The tree has quit blooming. This didn't happen last year when it was so dry; it started after we had all the rain ...
view the full question and answer

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