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 - January 04, 2011

From: Lewisburg, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Trees
Title: White fuzz on Christmas tree from Lewisburg PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Our Canaan fir Christmas tree is now coated with white fuzz after being up for 4 weeks. The fuzz looks like spider webs, but it is also in clumps around the needles. When you rub your finger on it, it seems chalky. Any idea of what this is?

ANSWER:

Since we had not heard of a Canaan fir, we found this article from the National Christmas Tree Association on the Canaan Fir. In our Native Plant Database, we found information on our webpage on Abies balsamea (Balsam fir). On that page (which see), we found this information on pests and diseases of this plant:

"Conditions Comments: This slow-growing tree loses its lower branches as it matures, but maintains its dense, spire-like habit throughout its life. It needs to be kept cool and moist during the growing season. It is troubled by spruce budworm, woolly aphid and several canker diseases and is heavily browsed by deer. It is very resistant to attack by gypsy moth. The soft foliage makes balsam a favorite Christmas tree."

Any of these conditions might be the cause of the fuzz on the tree, but not likely. It is, first of all, a dead tree. Second, those various insects are no doubt hiding somewhere as eggs or larvae and not likely to be active. Our best guess is that it is some kind of mold, possibly because you have had the tree in a water reservoir.

Our advice? Again, it's a dead tree, and Christmas is well over. Many communities have tree-recycling programs, so that the organic matter in the tree can be put to good use. Whatever is on your tree branches, you don't want it in the house. Throw it out.

Images of Abies balsamea var. phanerolepsis from Google.

 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Need help with a 50 ft Tulip Tree with storm damage in Brownsburg, IN.
June 30, 2010 - I have a 50 ft Tulip tree that suffered storm damage. One for the main branches split at the top fork and fell. It has left about 6 ft of exposed wood but there are still a couple of main branches in...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of redbuds from shoots in St. Louis MO
July 17, 2009 - I have a beautiful, healthy old redbud tree that I love. Every year, I find baby redbud trees rooted all over my yard, Since they are deep, I can't seem to dig them out so I simply cut them down to...
view the full question and answer

California plants poisonous to dogs from Sacramento
July 01, 2012 - Found dodonea viscosa purple. Is it poisonous to dogs? Also Gold Star Potentilla. Going drought tolerant and need small trees, shrubs and plants not poisonous to dogs for sun and partial sun.
view the full question and answer

Caterpillars on Mountain laurel in Austin
September 11, 2009 - One of our 18+ year old Texas Mountain Laurels seems to be in distress this year. We treated it for caterpillars this Spring but many of the new leaves had been eaten by then. I recently started wate...
view the full question and answer

Best pine tree for northern Illinois
October 03, 2010 - I live in Schaumburg,IL. What would be the best type of pine tree to plant?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center