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

Is it normal for the bark to fall off an oak tree in Austin, TX
May 02, 2013 - Is it normal for live oak bark to fall off when touched? I am afraid to get near them?
view the full question and answer

What is the sticky stuff coming out of the trees in Austin?
October 06, 2009 - Hello - I live in Austin TX, and in the past half month or so, have been noticing much sticky, sweet sap being exuded from trees. In a normal year I only notice the crepe myrtles doing this, but this...
view the full question and answer

Problem with unknown tree in Austin, Texas
July 23, 2013 - Have recently moved to Austin, Texas and have a tree in my backyard that has been dropping leaves and one major branch appears to be dead. That branch has hard rust colored sap circles (about penny si...
view the full question and answer

Why is my Mountain Laurel in distress?
November 26, 2008 - We have planted our 2nd Texas Mountain Laurel in the same spot (after fresh berm built with sandy loam) and it is not looking good in less than 2 weeks. We have an identical berm on the other end of...
view the full question and answer

Leaf drop from live oaks in mid-summer
July 08, 2013 - We have a live oak that is starting to drop a considerable amount of leaves here in early July in Cypress Texas. Its a mature tree with a base diameter of 12-14" and 25-30' tall. We live in a subd...
view the full question and answer

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