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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - August 27, 2011

From: Bellwood, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Pests, Trees
Title: Bugs on Arizona Cypress in Bellwood IL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Illinois and have an Arizona Cypress that looks like it is dying but I notice today it has bugs inside its cone. Can you tell me why and what can I do?

ANSWER:

Cupressus arizonica (Arizona cypress) is native to North America; from our webpage on this tree:

"USA: AZ , CA , NM , NV , TX , UT
Native Distribution: W. TX to extreme s. NV, s. AZ & n. Mex.
Native Habitat: Hot, dry canyons & stream banks from 3000 to 7000 ft."

From the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service on Cupressus arizonica:

"It is found naturally on dry, sterile, rocky mountain slopes and canyon walls, but does very well when planted on better soils or when irrigated. It requires a minimum of 10 to 12 inches of water annually. It is not recommended for soils with a high water table."

Doesn't sound much like extreme northeastern Illinois in USDA Hardiness Zone 4b, with average annual minimum temperatures of -20 to -25 deg F, does it? How long have you had that tree and did you buy it locally? Just because a plant is sold locally does not mean it will thrive locally. On top of everything else, you are very close to Lake Michigan and we are guessing you have a high water table, not recommended for this tree. This sort of situation is why 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 area in which the plants are being grown.

Frankly, we don't think it possible for this tree to survive in your environment, and the bugs are probably just taking advantage of a weakened, dying tree. Before you purchase plants, we suggest you go to our Native Plant Database, do a Combination Search for Illinois, designating type of plant (tree, shrub,etc.) under General Appearance. You can also specify Light Requirements where the plant will go, Soil Moisture, even projected height as you search. You can go to our National Suppliers Directory, type your town and state name in the "Enter Search Location" box and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies and landscape professionals in your general area. All have contact information so you can find out if they have a plant you are looking for before you go shopping.

 

From the Image Gallery


Arizona cypress
Hesperocyparis arizonica

Arizona cypress
Hesperocyparis arizonica

Arizona cypress
Hesperocyparis arizonica

More Pests Questions

Growing Giant Pumpkins in Georgia
April 15, 2013 - I have tried to grow giant pumpkins in the Atlanta, GA area. Each year I lose several strong plants to vine borers. I have tried tin foil wrapped around the stems, and I even painted the stems with Se...
view the full question and answer

Problems with mountain laurel from Sunrise Beach TX
August 29, 2012 - In Llano Co., TX near lake LBJ, crushed granite type soil - my 4 - 5 year old TX Mtn. Laurels (2), about the size of large wheel barrows, are turning very pale, dropping leaves and on 1 the seed pods ...
view the full question and answer

Caterpillars on Mountain Laurel from Austin
July 25, 2013 - My 1-yr old mountain laurel has been decimated by small yellow and black catepillars. It recovered a bit and pushed out some fresh new growth, and more came and decimated that too. Are these caterpi...
view the full question and answer

Pests on American Beautyberry from Austin
June 25, 2012 - Something is eating the leaves of my American Beautyberry shrubs. One is almost stripped of leaves on the upper branches. I have looked and can't see any insects or caterpillars. I have also looke...
view the full question and answer

Weedy buffalo grass from Dripping Springs, TX
March 07, 2013 - I have a buffalo grass lawn. It is thin and filled with weeds. I would like to find a solution to improve my lawn. I prefer a native grass but I need to be able to control the weeds and I am not ph...
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