En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - November 16, 2010

From: Surprise, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs
Title: Further question on sprouts from holly tree in Surprise AZ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Thank you Barbara Medford for your response to my question about the sprouting holly tree in Surprise AZ. I took for granted that the tree I was talking about was a holly tree. I looked at pictures of the trees you suggested they might be.. but they are not. I thought it was a holly because of the shape of the leaf.. it is a scalloped leaf with needles on the ends.. the leaf looks just like a miniature holly leaf. Maybe you can help me ID it better. Again thanks for your help. P.S. The tree does get good water at all times of year (sprinkler system)

ANSWER:

The pictures we provided you were NOT a true holly, as we said. We will provide you with some pictures of holly leaves if that would help, but there still is NO holly native to Arizona. If it is a plant not native to North America at all, we will have no information on it. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown.

To reiterate what was in our previous answer:

"We checked in our Native Plant Database for all the Ilex (holly) genus that grow natively in Arizona and found there are none. That may be the first clue; plants that produce sprouts coming up from their roots are often stressed by environmental conditions and just trying to put out some survivors to carry on when the main plant dies. Growing in conditions hostile, or at least non-native, to a plant can certainly produce stress in that plant.

Nativity aside, if the house is not being lived in year-round and watering is not being done in the hot weather, the plant is just trying to get some leaves out on those sprouts to help survival if the leaves on the shrub proper shrivel up and die. About the only treatment for the sprouts is to cut them off, and keep cutting them off, near their base. You can't use a poison on the sprouts because they share the roots of the bush for nutrients and water. We are afraid that the choice of that plant for those particular circumstances probably has doomed it. We realize the plant was probably purchased locally, on the assumption that if it was sold there, it would thrive there. Unfortunately, too often this is not the case."

The fact remains, whether it is a holly or some other plant, perhaps non-native not only to Arizona but to North America, that the sprouts can only be eradicated by cutting them off with heavy duty pruners, as near to the root from which they spring as possible.

Our point on the watering and the soils had to do with the way trees should be watered, especially when they are new. Newly planted trees should receive deep watering by inserting a hose down into the soil and letting it drip, perhaps 2 times a week until the tree is well-established. In fact, depending on sprinkler systems is counter-productive; the water hitting the trunks and leaves of the trees could very well promote fungi, which would only make the problem worse.

Pictures of Ilex coriacea (Large gallberry) from Google.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Ilex ambigua


Ilex decidua


Ilex myrtifolia


Ilex opaca


Ilex verticillata

 

 

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Diseased non-native red tip photinias from Richmond VA
April 08, 2014 - Our red tip trees have a while substance on the bark at the base of each tree..look like some kind of fungus or mold, but we don't know how to get rid of it. Please help.
view the full question and answer

Cenizo dropping leaves from Corpus Christi TX
February 20, 2014 - Leucophyllum frutescens:I planted a Texas sage hedge in September of 2012. One of the plants is dropping its leaves. It is situated at the corner of an L-shape at the end of drive and corner of road. ...
view the full question and answer

Fasciation on Texas Mountain Laurel
November 21, 2012 - Do Texas Mountain Laurel normally have a staghorn looking growth hanging on them after blooming in addition to the seed pod clusters or could this be a mutation?
view the full question and answer

Wilting stems on beautyberry in Georgetown, TX
August 16, 2009 - Last summer I discovered that a 4-year old beautyberry had one (of many) stems that died. Leaves on this single stem wilted and dried up. This year the same happened to two or three stems. The rest of...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Eastern hemlock in Greenville SC
July 02, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a beautiful, young, 5 and a half foot tall Eastern Hemlock. I purchased and planted it two years ago in the fall. It has been doing very well all this spring. And ne...
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center