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

Non-blooming Tecoma stans in Fredericksburg, TX
June 30, 2008 - We have an esperanza plant purchased last year from Walmart and planted outside before winter. It flowered excellently last year. Just before winter we cut it back to about a foot. So far this summer ...
view the full question and answer

Incorrectly planted anacua from San Antonio
November 22, 2013 - I purchased a 12' anacua tree from a local nursery about 18 months ago. It was not planted correctly (root bound, rolled into a hole about 3" larger than the pot) but is still alive with the number...
view the full question and answer

Red-backed bugs on mountain laurel (Sophoro secundiflora)
May 12, 2010 - I found red-backed bugs (in fact two end-to-end like the east Texas love bugs) on my mountain laurel which has been losing leaves. Are these bugs the culprit?
view the full question and answer

Problem with unknown tree in Austin, Texas
July 23, 2013 - Have recently moved to Austin, Texas and have a tree in my backyard that has been dropping leaves and one major branch appears to be dead. That branch has hard rust colored sap circles (about penny si...
view the full question and answer

Need to identify white powdery substance on Wisteria in Georgetown, TX.
May 11, 2011 - My wisteria shrub has a white powdery substance over the wood base. I have tried spraying a fungicide on it but have seen no improvement. Any suggestions?
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