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 Pests Questions

Fungus Spots on Native Bush Honeysuckle
December 03, 2010 - My native bush honeysuckle plants that I have along my back fence have leaves that are turning yellow with spots. It appears to be a type of fungus, but not powdery mildew. Any suggestions as to what ...
view the full question and answer

Mealy bugs on plants in Washington, DC
July 07, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, There is this white stuff, looking like snow flakes, that is attacking my office plants. I use gasduster to blow it off of them, but that does not stop it from reappearing. Wh...
view the full question and answer

Round green seed pods are likely leaf galls
May 31, 2013 - While walking on a tree-lined dirt road after a mid-May storm, I noticed several seed pods but could not locate the plant they fell off of. The pods were round, light green and looked like large round...
view the full question and answer

Box elder beetles in Austin TX
February 02, 2012 - We have an large infestation of box elder beetles. They are crawling all over the yard and sometimes on the outside of the house. When you walk in the yard a cloud of them rises up and fills the air. ...
view the full question and answer

Ticks on native grasses in Katy, TX.
July 23, 2012 - Are there native grasses that are less susceptible to tick infestation than others?
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