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

Wednesday - November 09, 2005

From: Lexington, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Cotton root rot in Purple Sage, Leucophyllus frutescens
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

We had three Purple Sage shrubs in our front yard. They did very well for about three years and then this past year they just died. From what I have read they are pretty hardy so we are really stumped as to what happened to them.

ANSWER:

 

Purple Sage, Leucophyllum frutescens is also known as Cenizo, Texas Ranger, Texas Sage, Barometer Bush and Silverleaf. It is a tough-as-nails shrub native to south Texas.

 

Purple Sage is highly resistant to most insect pests and diseases. However, it is susceptible to Cotton Root Rot (Phymatotrichopsis omnivora) in poorly drained soil, in over-watered landscapes or during wet seasons. Once Cotton Root Rot, also known as Texas Root Rot, has infected one plant in a landscape, the pathogen stays in the soil and will infect other susceptible plants that replace it. The much-used Red Tip Photinia, Photinia xfraseri is particularly susceptible to Cotton Root Rot and is responsible for many of the occurrences of the disease that we see.

 

To positively identify Cotton Root Rot, it is best to pull a dead plant out of the ground, shake off as much soil as possible away from your landscape, and take the plant -- roots and all -- to your county agriculture extension office. For more information on this particularly pernicious fungal disease, see this article on Diseases of Urban Landscapes.

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Pecan tree dropping dead leaves
August 02, 2014 - I have a very old, tall pecan tree in my yard that has been dropping dead leaves for the last three weeks. My back yard looks like it is the Fall season. Do you have any insight on this?
view the full question and answer

Trouble with live oak in McKinney, TX
June 13, 2013 - We moved into a suburban home with a live oak tree with a trunk diameter of about 50". I noticed recently how yellow the leaves look compared to the other live oak in the yard. There is not a pattern...
view the full question and answer

Bottlebrush buckeye not leafing out from Newburyport MA
June 11, 2013 - We have a bottlebrush buckeye bush that has grown and blossomed for 16 years. This spring the bush failed to produce any leaves and there are no buds in anticipation of leaves. There are a few smaller...
view the full question and answer

Is post oak resistant to oak wilt from Dallas TX
November 22, 2013 - I am confused. The NPIN website says that Post Oak IS susceptible to oak wilt, but all the other information I have been able to find says that it is resistant to oak wilt and rarely gets the diesase....
view the full question and answer

What kind of beetles are attacking cedar trees on Cape Cod, MA.
May 17, 2010 - I live on Cape Cod, MA and my cedar trees are being attacked by some kind of beetle & killing them. I would appreciate knowing what this could be and how to treat this. Thank you
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center