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

Friday - June 03, 2011

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Transplants, Trees
Title: Transplant shock in Mountain Laurel in San Antonio, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I planted a 2 ft. tall Texas mountain laurel a month ago. Some of the leaves have turned very yellow and some of them are falling off. The plant doesn't look real healthy in general. I did add some crushed granite, just a little turkey and molasses compost and a few watersorb crystals to the soil before planting. Maybe I shouldn't have added anything. I water deeply about twice a week. Any idea why this plant has yellowing leaves? The leaves of my Carolina jessamine are also turning yellow and some shoots have died. One plant completely died and I replaced it. (I have 3) They were planted in late February (3 months ago). Also an established Cenizo has yellowing leaves as well. I have also had trouble with these plants getting a small black bug on the leaves which in turn kill the branches. I have many any other plants that are doing well so I don't think its a soil problem. Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks that transplant shock and overwatering are probably at the root of your problems. I’m going to provide  you with several links that have information starting with planting techniques, transplant shock  (also see), and ideas about proper watering.

Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) is a drought tolerant evergreen which prefers rocky limestone soil that is well drained. Twice a week waterings probably keep the roots too wet, and the addition of watersorb only exacerbates the problem. The Cenizo Leucophyllum candidum (Brewster county barometerbush) also prefers dry conditions. The Carolina Jessamine Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine) prefers moist conditions, but could be experiencing transplant shock. One of the things that people tend to do with new plants is to overwater them.

There are a lot of diferent kinds of small black bugs, so that description isn't very helpful. Here is a link to a previous question regarding small black bugs that might prove useful. One of the culprits they mention is fungus gnats

 

 

More Trees Questions

A privacy hedge for NJ
April 16, 2011 - My backyard faces a highway in New Jersey. 18 years ago White Pines were planted for privacy, but they have since grown and now there is no privacy at all as the tree trucks are rather bare. Is ther...
view the full question and answer

Tree for St Paul MN
April 30, 2012 - Need deciduous faster growing shade tree, more taproot style (few/no surface bulging roots--had to cut down large silver maple), few/no fatal pests, tolerant of cold (MN), preferably able to take vari...
view the full question and answer

Yucca rostrata needs some help in Austin, TX.
September 16, 2013 - We planted an expensive 5-6 foot Yucca rostrata last fall. It bloomed beautifully in the spring. We installed an irrigation link to water the recently planted areas with succulents, viburnums, spart...
view the full question and answer

Watering live oak trees from McAllen TX
December 24, 2012 - What are the watering requirements for live oak trees in deep south Texas? How often and how many inches to be applied? One pop-up spray sprinkler spaced approximately fifteen feet away from each tr...
view the full question and answer

Distance apart to plant oaks in Denton TX
August 26, 2009 - How far apart should I plant Pin Oaks and Shumard Red Oaks in our yard? All around us are native oaks, but our backyard has none. I want to create a "forest" that looks like they are native, but n...
view the full question and answer

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