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?

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
1 rating

Friday - July 15, 2011

From: Abilene , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Watering, Trees
Title: Premature browning of bald cypress needles in summer
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I have several 10m high taxodium distichum trees in the lawn, with drip irrigation twice a week, and same soil content, and on just one of them, several leaves have started turning brown, it seems to be browning from the center of the tree outward(distally). I dont see evidence of insect damage, but I also am not entirely certain what to look for. Any suggestions??

ANSWER:

Taxodium distichum (Bald cypress) is a tree that benefits from deep watering.  If it does not get ample water in hot summers it will shut down many of its leaves, starting from the trunk-end of branches.  Mr. Smarty Plants has seen this occur on several occasions, sometimes on one tree but not on the adjacent one.  Green leaves remain on the branch tips if the drought is not too severe, and the tree will recover completely in the following spring.  However, this is not a healthy situation for the tree.  It seems that your drip irrigation is not allowing water to penetrate deeply enough in the soil to satisfy the tree's needs.  It is recommended that deep watering be employed to supplement rainfall in periods of extended drought.  I believe that if you water the area under all the trees out to the drip line for 30 min. or so every two weeks the trees will survive without permanent damage.

 

From the Image Gallery


Bald cypress
Taxodium distichum

Bald cypress
Taxodium distichum

Bald cypress
Taxodium distichum

More Watering Questions

Why are the leaves on my Laurel hedge turning brown in Everett, WA?
February 22, 2010 - Our laurel hedge seems to have brown leaves on the top of the bush. We haven't had a freezing winter so we are trying to figure out why some of the leaves are brown.
view the full question and answer

Hollies not retaining leaves in Tulsa
August 10, 2008 - I have Little Red Hollies that have lost their leaves, some areas being bald. They are also not full - you can see through them. These were planted in this condition Spring of '08 and have been wat...
view the full question and answer

Texas Pistachio trees dropping leaves in Austin
June 09, 2010 - I have several Texas Pistachio that are about 13 years old. Despite good rainfall in Travis county this year, they seem to be losing most of their new leaf growth now in early June. Leaves are simpl...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a Texas redbud sapling
July 27, 2008 - I've just discovered a Texas red bud sapling (baby tree)that decided to grow next to our fire pit. Although there's no reason for us to sit around the campfire in 100 degree weather, I would like to...
view the full question and answer

Overwatering and fertilization of whiteleaf manzanita
July 27, 2007 - Hi, I have an Arctostaphylos Dr. Hurd, southern California coast, several years old, 10 feet, that has a few large branches with yellowing and spotted leaves... also dropping many. causes? remedy? sh...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center