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: 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 Trees Questions

Leaves dropping on native Texas Mountain Laurel in San Antonio
September 20, 2008 - Please help. We have a beautiful TX Mountain Laurel in our front yard. This year the leaves are dropping like snow in the north. What do you think is wrong with our tree?
view the full question and answer

Will arctostaphylos grow in Austin, from Murrieta CA
April 23, 2013 - I currently live in Murrieta, CA at 2,000 ft. We planted 800 native plants on our slopes so they were extremely drought tolerant. One of my favorites is the Arctostaphylos family that will take the fr...
view the full question and answer

Failure of flameleaf sumacs to produce fruit
January 09, 2013 - Our two flame leaf sumacs produce none to little fruit. Both are about 4 years old, quite large, healthy looking; flowering this year was very good, but no fruit. What keeps them from producing fruit?
view the full question and answer

Moderate-sized trees for lawn in West Virginia
August 10, 2014 - I recently had a landscape design completed by a professional lanscape company. The landscape is sloping down in front of my house. At the corner they included a Sweet Bay Magnolia, which we like ve...
view the full question and answer

List of trees native to Texas
May 22, 2009 - I am terribly sorry but, I just found out about this school project; leaves from Texas native trees. I gathered leaves and, now, tonight, Mr. Student advises that they must be native to Texas. Typic...
view the full question and answer

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