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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.

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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 - April 02, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Spots on just-emerging Zexmenia in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My zexmenia is just coming up from the ground after a cold winter in Austin. The leaves are all spotted with tiny holes as if something is munching on them before they even leave the ground or just as they appear. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

We could find nothing that could be causing the spots and holes on your Wedelia texana (hairy wedelia). The only pest that we learned could damage it was rabbits. Those don't sound like rabbit munches. If you have been growing it for a while, you already know that it needs full sun, and that it has a woody base that it will die back to in cold weather. About the only advice we found was to never fertilize it, and that might be a clue. Some tough native plants particularly dislike being fertilized, and Zexmenia is specifically mentioned in our Native Plant Database as one of those. If you routinely fertilize your garden in the early Spring, which is when it is recommended, your plant could be objecting to that. Beyond that we are going to give you some links to information about insects that it MIGHT be, and then recommend that you let it grow for a while and see if it improves.

University of California Integrated Pest Management Aphids

Golden Harvest Organics Whiteflies

University of Florida Extension Scale Insects

Since we are neither  entomologists nor plant pathologists, if the problem persists you could contact the Travis County Extension Office for more help. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Wedelia texana

Wedelia texana

Wedelia texana

 

 

 

 

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