En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Caterpillars ate my Sophora in La Mesa, CA.

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

Help for Collapsing Tradescantia
August 14, 2013 - My tradescantia has completely collapsed at the crown. The stems are yellowish. This happened once before when I had it planted in full sun and I just had to discard it. This time I have one plante...
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

Black bugs on Autumn Joy sedum in Dublin OH
May 27, 2011 - How to get rid of tiny black bugs on Autumn Joy sedum?
view the full question and answer

Tiny red bugs on Mountain Laurel from San Antonio TX
April 02, 2014 - Hordes of solid bright red tiny bugs are all over the bark of my Mountain Laurels. The infestation has me very worried. How can I deal with them? Thank you in advance for helping solve this problem.
view the full question and answer

Changing colors on Mexican Plum trees from Bellaire TX
June 20, 2013 - The leaves on my Mexican Plum tree have recently started turning yellow/brown and the veins in leaves are red. Is this a watering issue or disease issue? Mites are on the leaves. This has been a ra...
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