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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - August 10, 2009

From: Niagara Falls, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Vines
Title: Burned leaves on trumpet vine, Campsis radicans
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a trumpet vine, it is about 10 years old and I have never had any problems with it. This year I have noticed that the leaves on some of the branches are shriveling up, like it was burned with something (acid not fire). I have tried to remove the parts that have this problem, but more leaves just keep shriveling. Can you tell me what this is, and how I get rid of it? Thank you.

ANSWER:

There are several possible causes of leaf wilt or leaf scorch on plants.  All of them involve the disruption of the water flow to the leaf. The culprits can be drought, soil compaction, root damage, bacterial or fungal infections (e.g., stem cankers and Verticillium wilt) or herbicide damage.  Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper) is listed in the University of California Division of Natural Sciences' leaflet, Plants Resistant or Susceptible to Verticillium Wilt, as being 'susceptible'. To determine the cause of the leaf problem on your vine, you need to look at possible environmental causes.  The University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture Program in their factsheet, Environmental Leaf Scorch, has suggestions on how to assess and correct problem environmental factors.  I also suggest that you contact the Niagra County Cornell Extension Service.  You can contact them by phone or e-mail and they should have information and suggestions about possible causes in your area.

 

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