En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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 Pests Questions

Mosquito repelling plants from Euless TX
July 24, 2013 - Are there any shade loving plants that repel mosquitoes for North Central Texas? I checked your site and saw nothing on this topic.
view the full question and answer

What causes rock rose branches to snap off?
August 30, 2013 - my small texas rock rose branches keep snapping in the center. What is causing this and what can I do?
view the full question and answer

Spots on calycanthus petals from Buckley WA
June 20, 2013 - Petals on calycanthus develop black spots the turn into holes. Problem appears shortly after buds open. Occurs every year. Foliage is healthy. Plant growing well and doubles or triples size every ...
view the full question and answer

Using cattail fluff to stuff pillows
April 22, 2007 - Me and my children filled a pillow case with cattail feathers today and brought it home. My mother says that it is going to get or attract bugs. Are there any dangers in this little project? Than...
view the full question and answer

Something eating Monarda didyma in Washington DC
June 30, 2011 - Please Help, I have a couple of Bee Balm, Jacob Cline, plants, whose leave are being eaten, by what I do not know. None of the nurseries around here seem to have ever heard of this happening to this p...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center