Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - May 20, 2010

From: Allen, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Transplants, Trees
Title: Why doesn't my Possum Haw have berries this year?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

A possumhaw holly has no berries as of mid-May. I planted this possumhaw last summer - it had lots of berries. Why would it have no berries this year? This spring I have two yaupons with lots of berries, 6 carissa hollies, and 6 dwarf yaupons all within 100 feet of the possumhaw. The possumhaw lost many of its leaves and all of its berries last summer shortly after planting due to sunburn and too little water. It appears healthy now with a full set of leaves and new growth.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks that you and your possumhaw are experiencing transplant shock. This is common in many plants when the come from their nice cozy pot, and are placed in a hole in the yard. The first order of business for the plant is to get a root system established in order to support the leaves on the upper portions of the plant. You made the job harder by planting in the summer and not adequately watering the plant. The leaves and berries didn't have sufficient water, and fell off. The plant probably didn't flower this year, but the showing of leaves is an encouraging sign that the plant is recovering. However, you still have a stressed plant in your yard. It is important that the plant receive adequate water, but no fertiliser this year.

I've included two websites that thoroughly cover tree planting and transplant shock: one is from the University of Kentucky  (scroll down to find the Transplant shock portion) and the other is from treesaregood.org.

This answer to a previous question covers a situation similar to yours.

 

From the Image Gallery


Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

More Trees Questions

Need suggestions for trees with non-invasive root system in Paramus, NJ.
August 23, 2011 - What trees can I plant in New Jersey with non invasive root systems? We lost our tree to a storm and are looking for a viable replacement.
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Chinaberry tree from Tucson AZ
September 05, 2013 - I have a 30+ year old Chinaberry tree and this year the branches are much sparser with leaves and there are a lot of small dead branches. Should I fertilize and what should I use? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Removal of live oaks leaves on lawn in Austin
October 11, 2011 - We have about a half inch or so of mostly live oak leaves still on the ground which I thought was good root protection and also holds in moisture. There is a small group of people in our condo subdi...
view the full question and answer

Plant barrier to block view and noise of Florida Turnpike
August 05, 2009 - I live in Port St Lucie FL and my development backs to Florida turnpike. We want to plant to block noise and view. Any suggestions? thank you
view the full question and answer

Non-native Japanese maple for East Northport NY
August 20, 2013 - I live in NY and I am looking to plant a Japanese maple in front of my house. It would be in front of a window so I'm thinking should I get a dwarf? Or a semi dwarf? I know I want a red color but un...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.