En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Stressed Texas persimmon, Diospyros texana

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
1 rating

Saturday - September 12, 2009

From: Lago Vista, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Stressed Texas persimmon, Diospyros texana
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I planted a 5' Texas Persimmon last May..it is watered by drip irrigation and has done well, putting on lots of new leaves and looking healthy as can be. That is, until several days ago when it began to look stressed. Now the underside of the each leaf is covered with small black dots, smaller than the head of a pin. These black dots are also on the limbs. On close inspection, there are many nearly transparent insects on the underside of leaves also. The insects are anywhere from a millimeter to nearly 2 millimeters long and they're difficult to identify since they are nearly clear. Poor persimmon tree! What are these clear bugs, what are the black dots, and what can I do to help get the tree back to good health?

ANSWER:

The transparent insects sound like aphids.  Even though Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon) is touted as been relatively disease and pest free, aphids can infest almost any plant.  The black spots may be the beginning of sooty mold fungus that grows on the sticky, sweet "honeydew" produced and deposited on the leaves by the aphids.  The Texas Agricultural Extension Service article, "Aphids in Texas Landscapes", has a number of suggestions for controlling these pests including biological control methods (lady beetles and greenlacewings), mechanical means (high pressure water spraying) and pesticides (insecticidal soaps and oils).  You can see photos and information about various aphids in A Field Guide to Common Insects on the Travis County Extension Service page.

Eriophyid mites are another possibility. The are extremely tiny and cause galls to form on leaves.  There is one of the mites, Aceria theospyri, that is specific to Diospyros sp., but others could potentially cause problems.  Treatments with insecticidal soaps and oils are recommended for these. (Notice the galls on the leaves in the photographs below.)

An article by Quintin Lee Holdeman (Persimmons for Louisiana's Children—Young and Old) has a section describing other pests and diseases of persimmons (Diospyros sp.).  One of the pests, Persimmon Psylla nymphs (Trioza diospyri), feeds exclusively on persimmon species but its description doesn't really match yours.

Good luck!  I hope your persimmon survives and thrives!


Diospyros texana

Diospyros texana

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Tag on oak tree in Buda, TX
April 02, 2008 - I found a large oak tree on my property with a tag that has a number on it. Any idea what that means?
view the full question and answer

Native landscaping plants for Sherman, Texas
December 19, 2007 - We are starting from scratch on landscaping our new yard. We live in Sherman, TX and I would like to use plants and flowers that are native to Texas and have a good chance of surviving. What are you...
view the full question and answer

Grasses for horses in Austin
October 27, 2012 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants We just bought 4.5 acres in Travis County off HWY 290. We have 3 horses we keep on it but there is very little grass in the pastures. What is the best type of grass to seed ...
view the full question and answer

Source for dwarf red mulberry from Spring Hill TN
December 08, 2012 - Hello: Where can I buy a dwarf red mulberry tree in the USA? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Why all the acorns from Austin
November 03, 2010 - What's the explanation for the huge crop of acorns falling from my live oak trees this fall. Do you recommend I dump them in my composter or just throw them in the flower beds? Thanking you in adv...
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