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 - May 27, 2010

From: McAllen, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Saving non-native crape myrtles watered with salt water in McAllen TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a crape myrtle plants that were accidentally watered with salt water from a purifier that was drained. They are dying and turning brown. What can I do to revive them?

ANSWER:

Lagerstroemia indica, crape myrtle, is not native to North America. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. However, the effects of salt water would be the same on a native plant, so we will try to make some suggestions to help. 

Probably you need a Time Machine, in order to go back to right before that water was dumped on the plants, and then not do it. Salt water is sometimes used to kill weeds but, like many herbicides, it will kill the roots. Once the roots of a plant die, there is nothing to sustain the tree. If you act fast and have some luck, you might be able to resuscitate them. First, don't fertilize them. This is always a knee-jerk reaction when anything goes wrong with a plant. The last thing your trees need right now is stimulation to put on new growth when it is gasping for life. Next, trim off about 1/3 of the upper part of the plant, treating it like transplant shock. Then, make sure the trees are kept well-watered, in hopes that will dilute the effect of the salt.

If this doesn't work, please consider replacing the trees with some trees native to the area of Hidalgo County, in far south Texas. You can go to our Recommended Species section, click on South Texas on the map, and search for native trees suitable for your purposes. But don't plant them until late Fall, or you will risk losing the new trees to the heat and drought of the Texas Summer.  

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Removing faded flowers from plants in Georgetown, DE
July 28, 2012 - I bought a chamase rose quartz that was in bloom. now the buds are dead, should i remove them or just leave them on the plant. they wont just fall off. and the tips of the plant has new growth.
view the full question and answer

Aging non-native weeping willow in Ohio
June 11, 2008 - We had a weeping willow now for about 15 years and it was doing fine until this summer. It has new branches sort of but a lot of the older ones are dying. There are leaves of course and they are sti...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of non-native Jerusalem Sage from Marble Falls, TX
October 11, 2010 - What is the best way to propagate Jerusalem Sage? I've located a plant and I want to get some going.
view the full question and answer

Shriveling agave from Miami Florida
August 23, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Most upset - My beautiful agave (wish I could have submitted an image) has stared to misbehave. The once first liquid filled leaves, are starting to look more like the skin ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native African violets in Des Moines
January 08, 2010 - My violets have stopped blooming after years and have developed a growth in the middle of the plant. Can I save these plants and how can I revive them. Thank you, I am desperate to salvage them as the...
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