Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

New Jersey Tea shrub wilting and losing leaves
December 30, 2013 - I have New Jersey Tea shrubs transplanted last spring from nursery stock (18 tall, grown local) I live in SE WI. They are planted in part shade. There has been 6" of snow on the ground for weeks now...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Ashe juniper from Lakeway TX
May 25, 2013 - Dear Sir/Madam, I have been living for the last three years in Lakeway, Texas approximately 20 miles west of Austin. In my back garden there are several ashe junipers about 15-20ft tall. However...
view the full question and answer

Acid rain in Ft. Worth?
August 19, 2010 - ALERT. NEED IMMEDIATE ATTENTION. Why are so many trees, plants, etc. in the Fort Worth area dying?? I heard acid rain. Please don't say drought. I have lived in this area all my life and survived t...
view the full question and answer

Dying Damianita in Blanco, TX.
June 18, 2015 - My Damianita bloomed its heart out and since all the rain here in Blanco the biggest plants turned brown and look dead. I've trimmed back some and do see green stems. Will they come back? How far ...
view the full question and answer

Diseased non-native red tip photinias from Richmond VA
April 08, 2014 - Our red tip trees have a while substance on the bark at the base of each tree..look like some kind of fungus or mold, but we don't know how to get rid of it. Please help.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.