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

Ivy a suitable ground cover in Live Oaks from Gulfport MS
April 17, 2014 - Will Ivy be a safe and suitable ground cover for old growth Live Oak trees in coastal Mississippi?
view the full question and answer

Dwarf oyster plant dying in Sunrise FL
July 06, 2012 - WHAT WOULD BE KILLING MY DWARF OYSTER PLANTS
view the full question and answer

Non-native hybrid willows dropping leaves in Downey CA
July 22, 2010 - I have 1 year old Hybrid Willows that are strong and 12 feet tall, with many branches. All of a sudden they are dropping their leaves in July. I got them for fast growing shade, now the branches are ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native daylilies and pachysandra in same area from New York City
April 07, 2012 - Will daylilies and pachysandra thrive if planted in the same bed, or will they harm each other?
view the full question and answer

Reblooming Potted Iris
June 12, 2014 - I have a pot of iris bulbs that are giving me just a bunch of leaves this year. Last year I had wonderful big blooms. Any suggestions about what I could do to get some flowers?
view the full question and answer

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