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?


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

Monday - July 11, 2011

From: Liberty Hill, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Transplants, Watering, Shrubs
Title: Possumhaw losing leaves in Liberty Hill, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


I have two female possumhaw trees and one of them is losing its leaves. I planted both of them in February and they were doing very well, getting green and full. What's happening?


Whenever Mr. Smarty Plants hears about plants that have been planted recently and are not doing well, his thoughts turn to transplant shock and watering problems. This case is complicated by the fact that only one of the two plants is suffering. Possumhaw Ilex decidua (Possumhaw) is a beautiful Texas plant whose native distribution includes Williamson County, so lets see what we can do to save your plants.

I’m going to refer you to some links that deal with three important  aspects of the problem; planting, watering, and transplant shock.



Transplant shock;  (also see)

Then of course there is the drought.


From the Image Gallery

Ilex decidua

More Transplants Questions

Transplanting live oaks in summer
July 17, 2008 - I have a need to transplant a live oak tree on a home building site. The need is now, the house is almost completely built out and the owners did not prep the site by moving trees or prepping them to ...
view the full question and answer

Removal of leaves before transplanting
April 05, 2008 - Before transplanting a plant, is it a good idea to remove leaves?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting large trees in Austin, TX
March 30, 2007 - Hello, I'm new to Austin and live in Circle C Subdivision off of Hwy 45 and Spruce Canyon. We would like to plant a couple of trees that will provide shade. I've read your Q&As but would like ad...
view the full question and answer

What is the best time of year to transplant a young pecan tree?
May 29, 2009 - What is the best time of year to transplant a young pecan tree?
view the full question and answer

Why is my Mountain Laurel in distress?
November 26, 2008 - We have planted our 2nd Texas Mountain Laurel in the same spot (after fresh berm built with sandy loam) and it is not looking good in less than 2 weeks. We have an identical berm on the other end of...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center