Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - January 29, 2011

From: Boulder City, NV
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Leaf problems on Cherry Laurel in Boulder City, NV
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Boulder City, Nevada and have 4 cherry laurel trees. I'm having a hard time with brown leaves and loss of leaves. How much water should I give them each season? Temps run from 28 degrees to 115 degrees. Any help would be useful. Thanks

ANSWER:

From this USDA Plant Profile map, you will see that Prunus caroliniana (Cherry laurel) does not grow natively in Nevada at all. This is probably your first clue to the answer to your problem. The second clue is in this section on Growing Conditions from our website page on this plant:

"Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Moist, deep, loamy, well-drained soils. Clay Loam, Medium Loam, Sandy Loam, Sandy
Conditions Comments: Likes the moist, well-drained soils of its natural range. Prolonged saturation can cause root rot, particularly in clay soils. Shallow, nutrient-poor, rocky soils can cause chlorosis and heat stress."

We would guess that you are trying to grow a plant that needs acidic soils in alkaline soils, and that your environment is causing chlorosis and heat stress. There is very little you can do to force a plant to grow where it does not belong, but you might try mulching the trees with a good quality shredded bark mulch. This will protect the roots from extremes of heat and cold and, as it decomposes, it will slowly add a little acidity and the possibility of better drainage to the soil. In terms of water each season, that depends more on whether the trees are better established or relatively new in the ground. If you want to try to maintain the trees instead of replacing them, we would suggest that you water at least once a week by sticking a hose down in the soil and letting it dribble slowly until water appears on the surface.

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Wisteria with root rot in Flower Mound, TX
July 11, 2009 - I have a wisteria that is showing rot root from an exposed wound on the side of the base. Would like to save the tree. What can I do to fix the problem.
view the full question and answer

Leaves on yaupon holly turning brown/black
July 20, 2011 - Arlington TX Yaupon Holly has leaves on stems closer to the bottom of the plant and moving up that are turning brown/black. Is this a disease, over/under watering? There is black gummy soil, but it ha...
view the full question and answer

A year and a half old live oak tree is doing poorly in Nevada, TX.
May 08, 2012 - We planted a live oak tree about a year and a half ago. the tree is still rather small. The leaves are of a vibrant green, however the leave have only grown through the center of the tree and not out...
view the full question and answer

Oak trees shedding leaves in Denton TX
May 27, 2012 - In Denton, TX we have two mature Quercus buckleyi. It is May 11th 2012 and one of these trees has been shedding green leaves for the last week. The only changes we have made are: planted English ivy...
view the full question and answer

Effect of unusual wet weather on desert willows
July 23, 2007 - I live in North Central Texas and have 3 beautiful Desert willow trees that are usually in full bloom. I've kept them pruned to form a nice full tree shape but now they are losing leaves and looking ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.