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

Friday - May 14, 2010

From: Cibolo, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Problems with Texas Ash in Cibolo TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a Texas Ash tree I planted two years ago. The tree was 10 feet high with thick foliage. This spring the leaves started falling off after I spread fertilizer on my yard. The end of the branches have grown about two feet but no leaves from the end of the old branch to the end of the new branch. Is there something I need to do or have you heard of this before?

ANSWER:

Fraxinus texensis (Texas ash) shows on this USDA Plant Profile as growing natively, if not in Guadalupe County, at least very close, so we are assuming you have the right climatic conditions and soils for this tree. No, we can't say we have heard of this before, but you seem to link it with the fertilizer. What kind of fertilizer were you spreading? Was it "weed and feed" fertilizer for your lawn? That would be a high nitrogen fertilizer to encourage lots of green blades of grass, with a herbicide designed to kill broadleaf, that is, non-grass weeds in the lawn. The tree is also a broadleaf plant, and it is possible that the damage was done by that material being spread around, either getting down to the trees roots, or being distributed in the air by wind or the method of applying it. 

What to do about it? Well, to begin with-don't do that again. For one thing, many of the "weeds" you want to kill are other grasses than the lawn grass; they won't be killed by that particular herbicide. The second reason is what you may have already experienced, leaf loss on your broadleaf ash tree.  You also no doubt have broadleaf shrubs and garden plants that will not be happy to receive a dose of that broadleaf herbicide.

Ash trees are generally weak trees, growing fast but not living very long and are very susceptible to pests and diseases. At this point, about your best option is to wait and see. Make sure the ash has plenty of water and don't fertilize it. Plants native to the area in which they are being grown usually need no fertilizer and it could shock an already stressed tree into trying to put on new growth when it needs to be concentrating on staying alive. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Fraxinus texensis

Fraxinus texensis

Fraxinus texensis

Fraxinus texensis

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Problems with Anacacho Orchid tree in Austin
May 17, 2010 - I have an Anacacho Orchid that is about 9ft tall. It is early May and has not started to put out leaves yet on the old growth. I can't even see any noticeable buds yet. It is still alive because I ha...
view the full question and answer

Trees native to Anza Valley California
February 14, 2012 - What are the best trees to plant in Aguanga, California?
view the full question and answer

Privacy Screen for Reading MA
June 27, 2012 - Best tree to grow for a privacy screen - Hello, we recently moved into a new house in Reading and have an open area on the side of our house where we can make a privacy screen from our neighbors. Wha...
view the full question and answer

Privacy Trees for New Jersey
March 02, 2011 - My neighbor elevated a row of white pine between our houses at least 20 feet high leaving me with NO privacy and a row of ugly lollipops. What trees can I plant that will be fast growing and deer resi...
view the full question and answer

Encouraging branch growth of live oak trees in Austin
February 10, 2009 - I recently had an elm tree cut down that was crowding out 2 live oak trees in my front yard. The oaks have no branches on the sides that were next to the elm. The elm stump is still there. I need to ...
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