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

Saturday - August 27, 2011

From: Pueblo West, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs
Title: Butterfly bushes and weed killer in Pueblo West CO
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have 3 previously healthy butterfly bushes that have one by one developed masses of tiny yellowish-green compact leaves. The entire bush went from its normal healthy appearance to something that resembles the woolly butterfly bush. I do not see any evidence of a bug infestation. Could it be a result of weed killers applied to the surrounding rocks?

ANSWER:

You answered your own question, which we appreciate. Usually, with a question like this, we have to ask rhetorical questions of our correspondent, like is the plant in the right area, is it getting the right amount of sunlight and water or has it been exposed to an herbicide? You always need to remember that no spray, herbicide or pesticide, is going to be confined to the plant you are spraying it on. Even weed and feed fertilizer spread on a neighboring lawn can damage or kill adjoining ornamental plants. The weed killer in the "weed and feed" is for dicots, or broad-leaved plants, which the butterfly bush is. Will the plants survive? We have no idea. If their roots are strong and a fatal dose of the herbicide did not transfer to the roots, the plant might die back this year, and come back up from the roots again next year. Our advice? Don't do that again.

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Green cyst-like growths on Texas persimmon leaves
September 20, 2013 - We have a mature Texas persimmon. We just noticed some green cyst-like growths on the tops of some of the leaves. The undersides of those leaves have black spots where the growths are. They looks like...
view the full question and answer

Survivability of plants after freeze
December 08, 2003 - I have many beautiful plants that froze. Some were Lantana, Hummingbird Bush, Candlestick Trees, Esperanza, Some flowers, and Marigolds. I love all of my plants and flowers and I want them to grow bac...
view the full question and answer

My weeping willow is not doing well - Taneytown, MD
June 15, 2009 - I have a weeping willow tree. It is in a very wet place, soil gets plenty of water, but the bark on the tree is raising up and blistering up. The leaves are very sparse on it this year. I can't se...
view the full question and answer

Need to know about little brown spots on Texas Mountain Laurel
May 11, 2015 - I have little brown spots on my Texas Mountain Laurel leaves. I can email you a picture if needed. What could it be and how can I help my little laurels work thru these spots? The texas mountain ...
view the full question and answer

Fasciated Texas mountain laurel
November 05, 2013 - I've noticed some strange things hanging off some of the purple mountain laurels in my area. They hang low, and look almost like large, dangling trumpet flowers, but are flat, and have little bumps o...
view the full question and answer

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