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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - July 31, 2010

From: Lehi, UT
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Non-Natives, Trees
Title: Japanese lilac trees in Lehi UT
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, We live in Utah and this past spring planted three Japanese Lilac Trees in the lawn next to the deck hoping they would one day provide some shade. They are planted in full sun and in sandy, rocky soil. Their leaves have been brown with crumpled edges for most of the summer. Of late a couple of new shoots have come out the top of the trees with a few blossoms. These trees are obviously not healthy. Help?

ANSWER:

The best we can figure out, what you have is the  Syringa reticulata, which this  USDA Plant Profile shows growing in Wyoming, New York State and other northeastern states, but not Utah. Since it is native to (guess what?) Japan, it falls out of our expertise, which is plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which they are being grown. We found numerous websites on this plant, to some of which we will give you links. The closest we can come to speculating on the cause of the leaves browning is that it is likely too arid in Utah for it, and also your soil is probably alkaline. This particular variety is supposedly tolerant of poor soils and alkalinity, but perhaps not that tolerant. Most of all, it needs very good drainage, to prevent water from rain or irrigation from standing on its roots. 

University of Connecticut Horticulture

Backyard Gardener

cirrusimage.com

Nebraska Forest Service

 

More Trees Questions

Growing pecan and fruit trees near Canyon Lake, Texas
July 07, 2014 - I just bought a property on the north side of Canyon Lake in the Hill Country of Texas. Most of the trees around are cedar, and a few live oak. I know I have seen beautiful Pecan trees as well as seve...
view the full question and answer

Pros and cons of live oak leaves left on ground in Dripping Springs TX
February 20, 2013 - What are the pros or cons of leaving live oak leaves on the ground around trees or bushes?
view the full question and answer

What are the cone shaped evergreens around Pilot Point, TX?
January 26, 2016 - What are the cone shaped evergreens around Pilot Point, Texas called? They are dark green with spiky leaves and rough bark. I have a row planted as a windscreen and want to transplant a couple from a ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for under pine in Ft. Worth
July 15, 2009 - My front yard, in Fort Worth, faces north. There is a large shade-giving pine tree in the middle. I am looking at options for what spreading groundcover varieties to plant underneath this rather large...
view the full question and answer

Insect damage on possumhaw
August 12, 2012 - We planted a small possumhaw in February of this year (2012). It had leaves and some berries and was doing real well until some bug starting eating the leaves and berries. I know it is not deer becau...
view the full question and answer

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