En Español

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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - June 27, 2010

From: Fair Oaks Ranch, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Possible freeze damage to Texas Persimmon in Fair Oaks Ranch TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a Texas Persimmon tree that is in a green belt. It has leafed out and flowered for the eight years we have lived here. This year it leafed out then the leaves turned brown and dropped. The top appears dead. New growth is coming from the trunk near the soil. Should I cut the top off? Is it going to survive? We are at the end of a 2-3 year drought.

ANSWER:

According to this USDA Plant Profile, Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon) is native to your area, regardless of which of the three counties you live in, Bexar, Comal or Kendall. We would also think that in USDA Hardiness Zone 8b, there should not have been freeze damage to it. However, we did have a most unusual winter all over Texas, and that is the most logical answer to your question we can come up with. 

Try the thumbnail test on the bark of the tree; scrape off a very thin sliver of the bark, and see if there is a thin layer of green beneath that. Start up high on the dead part, and work down toward the roots. If and when you come to an underlayer of green, you can trim the tree off there. We would not, however, recommend you do that until the weather is cooler. Give the tree regular watering and don't fertilize, a tree under stress should never be fertilized.  Also, don't trim off the new growth down below-that is probably suckers, but at this point the leaves on those suckers (which share a root with the tree) are the only sources of nutrition for the plant. When Fall comes and you can assess the situation, you can decide if you want a multi-trunk Texas persimmon or if you want to dig it out and start over. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Diospyros texana

Diospyros texana

Diospyros texana

Diospyros texana

 

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Sudden death of one side of Mountain Laurel from Canyon Lake TX
July 22, 2013 - Hello! We live in Canyon Lake TX and have a Mountain Laurel that is in distress. It is planted in an irrigated flower bed and has been happily growing for 5 years. It is about 5' tall and has sever...
view the full question and answer

Need to identify leaf extensions on the leaves of an elm sapling in Houston, Tx.
May 22, 2013 - I have an elm sapling which grows strange leave extensions on its leaves. Can I send you a picture? Tree looks healthy
view the full question and answer

Problems with redbud in CT
June 08, 2011 - My Eastern redbud was planted 4 years ago and has been fine. This Spring it was beginning to pop out buds. Less than a week later, after returning from a trip all the buds were dead, never flowered, ...
view the full question and answer

Fungus on spineless prickly pear in Hico TX
January 03, 2010 - Is there anything I can do to save my spineless prickly pear planted 3 yrs ago in rock garden. Pods had grayish-white fungus? on the pods and I noticed a few green colored bugs on them. Bugs are gone-...
view the full question and answer

Need help with yucca palm in New York City, NY.
November 10, 2011 - I have had my yucca palm plant for almost 10 years. The bark has started to peel off although leaves seem fine. The second smaller separate yucca plant has half its bark and trunk gone. I can't see a...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center