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

Sunday - July 10, 2011

From: Cumbola, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives, Diseases and Disorders, Transplants
Title: Leaves browning on non-native willow from in Cumbla PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We recently planted a willow tree. A lot of the leaves turned yellow and some turned brown, but it is also getting some new buds. my question is, should I take the dead leaves off or leave them there?

ANSWER:

How do we feel about the willow? Let us count the ways.  While there are some members of the Salix (willow) native to North America, landscape willows are most often either Salix matsudana (Globe Willow) or Salix x sepulcralis (Weeping Willow). We have been asked about both trees numerous times, and we can only remind you that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which those plants grow natively. Here are extracts from two of our many answers on questions regarding these trees:

Non-native to the United States, Salix x sepulcralis is a hybrid of a Chinese species (Peking willow) and a European species (white willow), and is said to grow in Zones 5 to 8 in the United States. It is weak-wooded, fast-growing and, therefore, short-lived. It has aggressive roots, can lift sidewalks and interfere with sewer lines, often growing on soil surfaces, making a problem with mowing. It is susceptible to a number of pests and diseases, and notorious for littering the ground beneath it. You might check out this University of Florida Extension website on Weeping Willows for more information as well as this Q&A from North Dakota State University Extension on weeping willows.

Salix matsudana, Globe Willow, is a native of eastern Asia. Willows generally are fairly weak, short-lived trees, susceptible to many insects and diseases, as well as dropping a lot of litter. The globe willow is often infected with slime flux, a bacterial disease that is soil-borne.

To answer your question, you say you have recently planted your willow. The best probability is that it is suffering from transplant shock. It may have been planted in weather too hot or too cold for the exposed roots, damaged in transportation, or in the wrong soils for it. If it is putting on new buds, we would say just let the browning leaves drop off on their own.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Native or non-native hibiscus for Kansas
August 13, 2005 - I recently purchased a 10" Hibiscus flowering plant and would like to know how to care for it. How much water and sunlight does it need and how long I can expect it to live? It is a beautiful plant a...
view the full question and answer

Native alternative to tulips from Milford MI
October 15, 2013 - What could be a good alternative to tulips? I have not seen a native plant quite like a tulip (except a tulip tree). A good alternative should bloom in April or May and have showy flowers. I searched...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Ficus Pumila
October 23, 2008 - I have successfully maintained Ficus Pumila trees indoors for many years. Over the last year my two indoor,5' (in container) ficus trees have developed large brown lesions that turn "papery" befor...
view the full question and answer

B1 for transplant shock in non-native bamboo?
January 24, 2009 - I am wondering about the details as I wish to transplant some bamboo. I do not know the actual variety, as I have at least 2 types, but will take a cutting to a high end nursery.Some of this is about ...
view the full question and answer

Possibility of transporting native seeds to Europe
February 03, 2011 - Hi, Is it possible to bring seeds for North American plants and wildflowers from the USA to Europe? I live in Italy and have many Italian friends who want me to bring seeds from America the next time ...
view the full question and answer

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