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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Wednesday - August 11, 2010

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Leaves on non-native Chinese pistashe tree yellowing in San Antonio TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My chinese pistashe tree leaves are turning yellow. The tree is about 25 years old. the last time it did this I applied some iron granules into the ground around it. However I have forgotten how much to apply and how far apart.

ANSWER:

Pistacia chinensis, Chinese pistache, is native to central and western China. It is considered invasive in Texas, see this Texas Invasives.org website on Pistacia chinensis. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center recommends only plants native to North America and to the area in which those plants are being grown. 

The yellowing leaves are a sign of chlorosis, which means that overwatering or poor drainage may be making trace elements in the soil unavailable to the plant's leaves. If you have had success with iron granules in the past, we suggest you go back to the nursery, purchase some more and follow the directions on the package.

 

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