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
1 rating

Saturday - March 05, 2011

From: Burleson, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Control of Fusarium wilt on Wax Myrtle
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Do you have any new reports on how to control the Fusarium Wilt disease to Wax Myrtle Plants?

ANSWER:

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) was reported to be infected by Fusarium oxysporum or other Fusarium species in central and south Florida back in the 1990's.  Mr. Smarty Plants has found several mentions of that observation, some as recent as 2009, but no effective treatment has been reported.  The fungus often enters the plant through cut or damaged places in the root system.  It grows into the stems, blocking free passage of water and nutrients.  According to most reports, the plant eventually dies.

You may delay the demise of your plant by pruning off the dead and dying branches.  Pruning small branches in the morning would give the cut ends time to dry during the day.  Larger cut stems should be painted to prevent possible further transmission of the fungus by insects.

It may be more desirable to simply replace the plant.  If you do that and need to have the replacement in the same location, consider treating the soil with a fungicide or solarizing the soil to try and kill the Fusarium organism.  The fungicide Mycostop is recommended to protect against Fusarium, but I doubt that it would save an already infected plant.  If you can, plant the replacement in a different spot, hopefully one free of the fungus.  Make certain that the new plant that you purchase has no damage to the root system, and use only moderately enriched soil. High nitrogen encourages active growth of molds.  Make sure the new plant does not become water-stressed, since this would weaken its resistance to infection.

Wax myrtle is usually considered to be a hardy plant with few disease problems.  If you can get a healthy replacement off to a good start it should take care of itself.

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Holes in trunk of Monterey Oak in Austin, TX.
May 05, 2013 - My Monterrey Oak (about 4 in diameter) has a problem. It started budding out and had a few leafs, then just quit. It had what I thought was new buds that would develop, but didn't. Then, the exist...
view the full question and answer

Danger of oak wilt infestation in trees with storm-damaged limbs
June 15, 2007 - A recent severe storm in Southwest Austin broke large branches and trunks on many Live Oaks in my neighborhood, including my next door neighbors'. Can this invite Oak Wilt? I'm worried about my tree...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting care of Mayten tree (Maytenus sp.)
November 06, 2007 - I planted a Mayten tree 2 years ago. It's about 8 feet tall. The trunk is about 1-1/2 or 2" in diameter. The earth around it sunk and now there is a "bowl" that fills with water in the rain. I...
view the full question and answer

Problems with a Sherman (Shumard?) Oak from Bixby OK
May 14, 2012 - We have done extensive research on oak fungi/diseases/pests could be affecting our Sherman Oak tree but we are stumped. The leaves are falling off and have some sort of moldy bunch within the leaf it...
view the full question and answer

Natural lifespan of wild plum trees
May 12, 2008 - We have a small border of Wild Plum Trees in our yard. Every year it seem that one or two of the biggest trees die. Do they have a specific life span? We transplanted the trees/bushes from the panh...
view the full question and answer

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