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

Thursday - April 08, 2010

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Arizona Ash dropping seed pods and waste in Houston
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My Arizona Ash tree is dropping seed pods and other waste on my deck and walkway. It has never done this before in the 14 years we have had it. We did get it cut back last winter. Could this be the reason?

ANSWER:

This seems to be the season for problems with ash trees; this is the second question on this that we have answered today, so we trust you will forgive us if we plagiarize some of the previous answer. According to this USDA Plant Profile on Fraxinus velutina (velvet ash), while it is native to Texas, it is not native to the Houston area, or even close, as seen in this USDA Plant Profile of the tree. Since you have  had the tree for 14 years, that is unlikely to be the cause of the decline, but we will try to give you some resources to figure it out. 

Ezine articles Arizona Ash Trees - "Arizona ash trees, like many other plants, are susceptible to various pests and diseases. These include cankering, mildews and various fungal infections, leaf scorch, rust diseases, and pests such as mites, webworms, carpenter worms, and borers. Ash trees are particularly vulnerable to Verticillium wilt, which is a soil-borne fungus. In some parts of the country (primarily the midwest), the emerald ash borer has killed many tens of thousands of ash trees. Luckily, Arizona ash tree varieties have not yet been affected by the destructive emerald ash borer. Trees that endure poor environmental conditions are more vulnerable to these problems, so it is important to keep the tree's defenses up by watering and fertilizing adequately.

Purdue University Verticillium Wilt of Shade Trees

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Emerald Ash Borer

University of Illinois Extension Ash Tree Problems

Because Houston, in Harris County, is not a natural habitat of  Fraxinus velutina (velvet ash), our best guess would be the problem is related to the moisture in the soil, to which the tree is not accustomed. This could lead to the Verticillium Wilt or to other fungi attacking the tree. The tree is fast-growing and short-lived, but it usually lives longer than 14 years. If it is indeed reaching the end of its lifespan, that could explain the dropping of leaves and seed pods. Since we are not plant pathologists and cannot see the tree, we would suggest you contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office for Harris County for more ideas on the treatment of the tree.

Images of Arizona Ash from Google

 

 

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Problems with a two year old persimmon tree in Fredricksburg, TX.
May 22, 2013 - Hi Mr/Ms Smarty Plants, We planted a 4-ft Texas Persimmon, Diospyros texana, 2-years ago, with wonderful leaf and fruit production since. We recently had a hail storm (5/9/13) and although mos...
view the full question and answer

Watering Houseplants with Soapy Water
August 22, 2011 - I accidentally watered my house plants with a container that had a some dishsoap in it. Will they be okay? One of the plants is a 20yr old cactus, with small roots.
view the full question and answer

Mildew and rot in navel orange tree in California
September 02, 2008 - I have a great navel orange tree that seems to have two problems. One of them looks like powdery mildew and the other is some kind of black rot. I have sprayed it several times to no avail. I live ...
view the full question and answer

Oak root resistant hedge for Southern California
December 28, 2013 - I live in Southern California and my cypress hedge has oak root fungus. What kind of hedge can I plant that will grow fast and be resistant to the fungus?
view the full question and answer

Leaves on new water oak turning brown from Matagorda TX
May 30, 2013 - We had water oaks planted in January when they had no leaves. Leaves came on but are now turning brown.
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