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

Tuesday - October 27, 2009

From: Buda, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Red maple with burnt leaves in Buda TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I planted a red maple last fall. Planted in full sun here in Buda Texas. The leaves are yellowing and then they dry out completely almost looks burnt. Problem starts in middle of leaf and then works its way out. Any ideas?

ANSWER:

While we are going to check to see if we can find any diseases of Acer rubrum (red maple) with the symptoms you describe, we're pretty sure we can tell you what has happened. The Red Maple is native in Texas only to the far eastern sections. Here are its Growing Conditions from our Native Plant Database:

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Moist, slightly acidic soils.

That doesn't sound much like Buda, Texas, especially for the last two years, does it? The soils in this area are generally pretty alkaline, and certainly haven't been moist recently. Now that the weather has cooled and we have been getting some rain, the tree can probably go into dormancy for the winter without permanent damage. However, when it leafs back out next Spring, if we are having the same conditions, you need to be prepared to try to keep it alive with deep watering.

Getting back to the leaf yellowing, it sounds like chlorosis. We learned in our research that maples are often subject to iron or manganese chlorosis, especially when growing in an alkaline soil. This article from Cornell University Noninfectious Diseases of Maples discusses that possibility.

In the final analysis, it would seem that your tree is just planted too far west. It grows most prolifically in Eastern North America into Canada, and the small area in East Texas where it grows is as far west as it is considered viable.  It always pays to check on a plant, especially one as valuable as a tree, to make sure it will be welcome in the soil and climate where you want to plant it. 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Where to plant the Texas Olive tree?
November 11, 2009 - I need to know where to plant the Texas Olive Tree, and what kind of care is required, such as watering, pruning, fertilization.
view the full question and answer

Trees for pool area in San Ramon, California
April 24, 2010 - We live in San Ramon. We are remodeling our pool and are looking for a tree that will be 15 feet from a pool. We just removed a pine tree. We have now lost our privacy and see the neighbor's back f...
view the full question and answer

Tree for wet area in Central Illinois
July 30, 2010 - I live in Central Illinois. When it rains I get a lot of water in my backyard. What kind of tree would be best to plant in this wet area?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
August 04, 2012 - We found a bush on our ranch in southern Gonzales County. It has oval shaped leaves about an inch long. There are no thorns on the branches. Fruit is round and smooth, the size of a small cherry to...
view the full question and answer

Rhododendrons Hydrangeas in Indiana
December 13, 2007 - I live in very southern Indiana. Our home faces west and at the front of our home I have planted three rhododendrons. The furthest south is growing well the two to the north not so well. All three h...
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