En Español

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

Wednesday - July 06, 2011

From: La Mesa, CA
Region: California
Topic: Pests, Transplants, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Caterpillars ate my Sophora in La Mesa, CA.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Before I noticed what was happening, my newly-planted 1 foot tall Sophora secundiflora was eaten by caterpillars. It now has no foliage. Do you think it will leaf out again?

ANSWER:

Well the culprit is probably the Genista Caterpillar. It is the larval stage of the brown moth Uresiphita reversalis which is much less conspicuous than the caterpillar. One of its favorite foods is the Texas Mountain Laurel.

As to the recovery of your plant, its hard to say. Since it lost all of its leaves, you could look at this as an extreme case of transplant shock. The roots may have enough stored food to keep the plant going, but you need to be patient. Give it only enough water to keep the soil moist, and by all means, do not fertilize the plant. This link has information about bringing plants through transplant shock.

As you nurse your plant back to health, keep in mind that its growth requirements include well drained calcareous soil with a slightly basic pH of 7.2. Try to make it think its back home in Texas.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Trees Questions

Note on pond over oak roots from Round Rock TX
December 23, 2012 - Thanks very much to Barbara for answering my question about the live oaks - covering parts of their root systems with a pond. Your answer inspired discussion, and we changed our pond plan and moved th...
view the full question and answer

Can I grow Pawpaw in Central Texas?
May 25, 2010 - Do you have any tips for growing pawpaws (not papaya) in central texas? It appears to be at the edge or slightly beyond its range, but maybe if I'm nice to it.. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Trees for property in Nevada
April 06, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants: I would like to plant trees in between Crepe Myrtles than put up a fence along the paved road. The temperature ranges from 27'F to 130'F. It is a full sun all day and I will i...
view the full question and answer

Fast growing, native fruit trees for Northeast Texas
January 23, 2007 - What kind of fruit tree will grow fast and be pretty in Northeast Texas?
view the full question and answer

Possibility of symbiotic relationship between cedar elm and ashe juniper
November 14, 2006 - Is there a symbiotic relationship between cedar elm and ashe juniper? We have a small ashe juniper sapling and a small cedar elm sapling growing near each other (actually, we planted the juniper 2 yea...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center