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
1 rating

Monday - November 15, 2010

From: Tucson, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Transplants, Trees
Title: Problems with Texas wild olive tree in Tucson
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Planted a Texas Olive tree in Tucson, Az. Some of the leaves are kind of yellow. It gets part sun and part shade and is growing. Is this due to too much water, not enough water or does it need something like Miracle grow ?

ANSWER:

Cordia boissieri (Mexican olive), which also has the common name of Texas Wild Olive is endemic to Texas, which means it is not native to Arizona, and may be in conditions in which it cannot do well. When you follow the plant link above to our web page on this plant, you will notice this instruction in the Propagation Instructions:

"Maintenance: Requires much water to get it established but once established it is drought-tolerant."

From this USDA Plant Profile, you will see that Mexican Olive grows naturally no closer to Arizona than the extreme southern tip of Texas. You did not say how long ago this tree was planted, but transplant shock is quite common in recently planted trees, particularly if they have been planted in what is, for them, an alien environment. If it was planted pretty recently, then we would definitely recommend more water, allowed to drip in very slowly from a hose. The plant also needs good drainage; if its roots are in clay with no compost or other amendments to improve the drainage, the roots may drown in the water it is given.

Pima County, against the southern border with Mexico, is in USDA Hardiness Zones 8b to 9a, while the South Texas area where the Mexican Olive grows natively is Zones 9a to 9b, a little warmer, but probably not enough to make that much difference. It is more likely that lack of water when the tree was being established and possbly poor drainage and/or the wrong soil is causing the difficulty. And, if you planted it in the heat of an Arizona summer, or even fall, transplant shock is almost inevitable.

On the subject of fertilizing, don't. Any plant under stress, and yours obviously is, should not be fertilized. The fertilizer will try to push a plant to grow more profuse leaves, when what that plant is doing is struggling to survive.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Cordia boissieri


Cordia boissieri


Cordia boissieri


Cordia boissieri

 

 

 

 

More Transplants Questions

Transplanting yucca pups from Dallas
September 01, 2010 - Can I transplant Pup Yucca plants off of the main yucca and how do I cut them off?
view the full question and answer

Replanting of non-native Christmas Palm from Sarasota FL
November 28, 2012 - Do you know of a proven technique to plant a Christmas Palm in a built-in concrete pool deck planter box - using gravel around the soil root ball to delay the root bound condition we just ripped out?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification and advice about moving it
March 10, 2010 - I have a plant (a thick stalk about 4 foot tall with yellow flowers on it) that blooms in the morning and the flowers fall off at night. I have searched for info on this plant and have come up short. ...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Agave havardiana in Stella NC
July 10, 2009 - We have a havard century plant in a large pot outside that has a couple of "baby" plants starting to emerge on the outer perimeter of the plant. Can we sucessfully transplant these babies elsewhere ...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Ashe junipers
June 04, 2008 - I am trying to re-build what man has destroyed in the Kingsland/Marble Falls area on a property we own out there. I would LOVE to plant a couple ashe junipers for several reasons, a couple being: 1. ...
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