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

Evergreen trees for a Southern California yard
July 08, 2011 - Hello I live in Irvine, CA and I am looking for a tree for our front yard. We recently planted oaks but they did not survive the clay soil. Our landscaper wants to replace them with oaks or with ...
view the full question and answer

Is Robinia pseudoaccia a good replacement tree for Shumard oaks in Austin TX?
February 27, 2013 - Recently two of our Shumard trees in the front of our house died. Both trees were small/medium in size having only been growing for 13-17 years. I've been reading about Black Locust trees which accor...
view the full question and answer

Can the non-native ylang ylang tree grow outdoors in Arizona
July 14, 2015 - Can the ylang ylang tree grow outdoors in Casa Grande, Arizona?
view the full question and answer

Leaf fall from Cedar Elm planted in clay
August 17, 2008 - I saw the answer to leaves falling off a cedar elm planted in clay. However I planted a Cedar Elm in my back yard. I dug a hole in the grass then planted and put grass back on top. I water every other...
view the full question and answer

Native turf and trees for Odessa TX
July 29, 2013 - What native turf and trees can I grow in my Odessa, Tx back yard?
view the full question and answer

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