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

Sunday - August 16, 2009

From: Brick, NJ
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Compost and Mulch, Pruning, Transplants, Trees
Title: Yellowing leaves on non-native weeping birch in Brick NJ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a young weeping birch-planted in spring-we water regularly, it gets good sun-and rain has been perfect--the leaves get yellow--and now they are a lot! Whats the matter? I love my little tree.I always thought yellow meant too much water? Little tiny leaves turning yellow and a lot of them--please help.

ANSWER:

Betula pendula is native to Africa, temperate Asia and Europe. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we are focused on the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. We have no expertise in this plant, nor would it be in our Native Plant Database, but we can try to point you in the right direction. The first thing that comes to mind when yellow leaves are mentioned is chlorosis, which is a lack of iron, usually, that the plant should be getting from the soil. If it is not getting trace elements in the amount it should, the plant may be standing in soil that does not have good drainage. If you have a lot of clay in your soil, and if water stands on the surface after you water, drainage is probably the problem. You can begin to address the drainage problem by working compost into the soil around the roots, and avoid over-watering. The second possibility is that the European birch does not appreciate excessive summer heat, and it turns yellow in autumn. There is the possibility that your tree, so recently planted, is suffering from transplant shock, both from poor drainage in the soil and from summer heat.  If you consider transplant shock a possibility, you can trim off 1/4 to 1/3 of the upper portion of the tree, to reduce the strains on the circulatory system of the tree, and see if it continues to improve. For more information, see this website from the Department of Horticulture at the University of Connecticut, Betula pendula

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Transplanting honeysuckle bush in Illinois
April 18, 2009 - Want to transplant 3 honeysuckle shrubs 10 to 12' tall this month, although not the best time. Please advise.
view the full question and answer

Non-native mimosa as deer food in Colerain, NC
June 20, 2009 - I was wondering if deer eat any part of the mimosa tree? I have three good sized trees in my yard with seedlings popping up everywhere. Would it be profitable to transplant for deer habitat?
view the full question and answer

Pruning time of non-native oleander
February 11, 2005 - When and how should I trim oleanders that turned brown after our first freeze?
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow under elm tree in Amarillo TX
May 01, 2014 - I have a large elm tree and I can't get seem to get anything to grow under it. I was wondering if there are any shade-loving groundcovers that you would recommend (have tried English Ivy, hostas, an...
view the full question and answer

Care for non-native plumeria in Inverness FL
October 05, 2009 - I have several plumeria plants that I planted in the ground this spring. I will soon need to dig them up and store them in the garage for the winter, as I left some last year that died with the frost...
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