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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - February 19, 2010

From: Richmond, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Shrubs
Title: Problems with Indian Hawthorn in Richmond TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a lot of Indian Hawthorne plants. I have noticed over the last couple of years that sporadically one will develope a brown area that looks like it was burned or had gasoline poured on it. The branch will eventually spread this brown and die. It is a very slow process initally and then when it spreads it goes very fast, eventually killing the entire plant. I have noticed this problem on hawthorne's in almost every location around town (Houston Texas) since I first saw this in my plant(s). No one can tell me what it is. There are no bugs, scale, mold, etc. It just starts dying on a single branch and then spreads. I have had "experts" tell me it is everything from wood worms to dogs urinating on them. Any guesses?

ANSWER:

Rhaphiolepsis indica, Indian hawthorn, is a native to China, Taiwan and other tropical areas in Asia. At the  Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are focused on the care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Because this is out of our expertise and, of course, not found in our Native Plant Database, we found a website with some information on the plant for you. Floridata, Rhaphiolepsis indica indicates that it is very susceptible to leaf spot fungus if grown in shady conditions or over-fertilized. You should avoid overhead watering, such as sprinklers, especially at night. Beyond that, you might try Googling on Rhaphiolepsis indica and see what other information you can find. We have actually heard of experts saying the Indian Hawthorn is more trouble than it is worth, and don't recommend planting them at all. 

 

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