En EspaŅol

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
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
2 ratings

Monday - July 25, 2011

From: Bastrop, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Transplants, Watering
Title: Possible freeze damage in Wax Myrtle from last winter in Bastrop, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Our Wax Myrtle is about 7 yrs old and in good shape until this past winter when we had several very hard freezes. Now several of the large branches are dead and more are dying each month. We have not had to fertilize or do anything but water every week. What might be the cause(s) and what should we do to save our tree? It is about 10 - 12 feet tall. Thanks so much!

ANSWER:

You need to inspect the plant to see if there is insect or fungal damage. You might enlist the aid of the folks at the Bastrop County office of Texas AgriLife Extension in this endeavor.

Your Wax Myrtle Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) may be telling you that it didn’t like that cold winter. Depending on its location and the extent of exposure, the freezes may have damaged the root system, and the plant is responding to an imbalance between the root systems and the shoot system. This is similar to what happens in transplant shock where the roots are damaged and the balance is disturbed when the plant is transplanted. So one scenario is to treat this as a case of transplant shock. I’m providing links to websites dealing with transplant shock that provide various remedies for the problem. You need to pick the suggestions that most closely fit your situation.

There are three activities that are recommended in the articles:

Pruning; remove the dead branches, and perhaps some of the live ones to reduce the water demand on the root system. Don’t take off so many leaves that  photosynthesis is impaired.

Watering; keep the soil evenly moist, but avoid overwatering. Wax myrtle prefers moist soils.

Mulching; apply a layer of mulch under the plant to prevent water loss from the soil and to keep the roots from getting too hot.

Although you may be tempted to fertilize the plant, don’t do it. Stressed plants do not need fertilizer.

Websites
   Clemson University

   northscaping.com

 

More Watering Questions

Watering oaks during drought in Austin
July 29, 2009 - Should we be watering our live oaks and Spanish oaks during this drought? How often and how much?
view the full question and answer

Nassella tenuissima for Woodland Hills CA
June 30, 2013 - Good afternoon, I wanted to purchase some already grown Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella tenuissima) and was wondering how often and for how long I would need to water said grass on a scheduled sprinkl...
view the full question and answer

Plant for graveside in New Jersey
August 07, 2010 - I am looking for a plant to put on a graveside in southern New Jersey. The problem is that the area is very hot & dry and the plant would only receive rain. I am interested in a perennial. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Relocating native oak trees in compacted soil
September 14, 2008 - Can you replant and relocate small oak trees in compacted soil and will they grow or go into shock?
view the full question and answer

Watering Oak Trees in the Summer
July 15, 2011 - Should you water oak trees in the summer? Some people say its not good for them. But many trees seem to be withering up and dying in this heat. Especially the black jack oaks. There are also post ...
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