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
1 rating

Wednesday - June 09, 2010

From: Sunrise Beach, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Transplants, Watering, Trees
Title: Blackening of top growth of yaupon in Sunrise Beach TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My question regards a Will Flemming yaupon which I am thinking may be within your scope of expertise. These were recently planted under windy conditions, then hit with a neighbors antiquated jet type yard sprinkler. Results were blackening of the top growth. Now, although they have been in the ground a while, I notice the top new leaves still trying to blacken out. Is this the result of too much water, or what? I have just recently been able to tweak the irrigation to put out 1-1/2 inches of water to a depth of 15 inches every third day, where before they were maybe being over watered by concerned housesitters. Thank you for any advice.

ANSWER:

The "Will Fleming" is no doubt a trade name given to the plant by the industry, probably either a selection or cultivar of Ilex vomitoria (yaupon), which is native. Often, a plant that has been bred away from the true form is named after the horticulturist who developed it. Strictly speaking, this puts it out of our range of expertise, as we deal only with plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown; with cultivars and hybrids we don't necessarily know exactly what is going on. 

From the website Garden Pilot Navigator Ilex vomitoria 'Will Fleming' we extracted this information:

"Distinctly upright form, almost columnar in outline, unfortunately with time will pull apart particularly with ice and snow, a 12' high plant in my trials has splayed and become disoriented, suspect this is a large-growing (15' by 15 to 18') cultivar, male."

All that having been said, we knew from the minute we read your question that the problem is the water on the roots. Yaupon, any yaupon, needs good drainage. It is a good plant for Central Texas, adapted to our often dry, hot climate. Are you sure that amount of 15 inches of irrigation every 3 days is correct? If so, we're surprised everything in your yard isn't dying. That is way too much; perhaps it was just an error in measurements or maybe you meant 15 minutes. However, you probably have alkaline, clay soil, which does not drain well. Whether they can be saved or not, we couldn't say. It's very difficult to add humus, like compost, to soil to improve drainage after the roots are already in the ground. Here are our suggestions: (1) Do whatever you can to direct the water away from the roots of these plants. Our Native Plant Database page on this plant says it will tolerate drought and poor drainage, but it sounds like your bed has NO drainage. (2) Since you say these were recently planted and under windy conditions, they can be treated for transplant shock. Ordinarily, we recommend that woody plants such as yaupon be planted in late Fall or very early Spring, before the heat kicks in and while the plants are partially dormant. Trim off about 1/3 of the upper portions of these plants which, with the reduction of water on the roots, may allow the roots to simply get water up to the top leaves so they can continue to manufacture food for the whole plant. 

If that doesn't work, and the plants do die, we suggest before you put any plant back to replace them, you prepare the beds, perhaps raising the level with lots of compost dug in, don't plant them until Fall, and careful with the water. 

 

 

 

More Transplants Questions

Planting Texas Mountain Laurel to transplant to Dallas
August 29, 2012 - My daughter would like to incorporate a tree planting ceremony in her wedding in Texas. The seedling would be planted in a pot for a few years and later transplanted in a yard when they buy a home. Wo...
view the full question and answer

Care for Blackfoot daisy?
June 05, 2009 - Hi, I have two blackfoot daisies and one has died. I've planted them in full sun on a well drained slope. Do these ususally die after blooming? Should I cut the other one back? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Why isn't my recently planted Mexican Redbud growing in Georgetown, TX?
April 11, 2010 - I planted a container-grown Mexican Redbud in early March. As of April 5th, it is showing no signs of buds or leaves. Other redbuds in the area (possibly Texas redbuds) have been blooming for severa...
view the full question and answer

Problems with a Monterey Oak in Austin, TX.
November 12, 2010 - I have a large Monterey Oak, planted last year that has not gotten any fuller. Do I need to fertilize and if so, when?
view the full question and answer

Southern Woodferns in TX
May 06, 2010 - I have recently bought some 3 gallon southern woodferns, and have planted them in the shade in a low spot with clay soil. It seems to be a good location for the ferns, but a week or two after transpla...
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