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 - October 29, 2011

From: Princeton, NJ
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives, Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Non-native Boulevard Cypress Pom Pom trees in Princeton NJ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I just had some landscaping done near my front door and front yard. I have two Boulevard Cypress B&B (4-5') Pom Pom. The pom poms are turning brown. What should I have been doing? I am watering them as instructed.

ANSWER:

From Northern Christmas Trees and Nursery, here is a description and picture of Chamaecyparis pisifera, trimmed into a "pom pom" topiary. Also, read this discussion from Ohio State University of the plant, its liabilities and problems, and the fact that it is native to Japan.

So, the first thing that we think you did wrong was plant a tree not native to North America. Mr. Smarty Plants never recommends plants not native either to North America nor to the area in which the plant grows naturally. Plants that have been accustomed by thousands of years to one climate and soil type will have great dificulty adjusting to a different one.

The second problem that we see is that this sounds like transplant shock. Any time a plant is removed from someplace, like a nursery, where it perhaps has been sitting all summer in a plastic pot, and suddenly put down in the earth, there is a chance of transplant shock. You said you had "just" had some landcaping done; how recent was that? In Texas, we frown on trying to transplant any woody plant, like trees and shrubs, in the heat of summer. However, if you waited until November to January, which is when we recommend planting in the Southwest, your ground would probably be frozen. But, we found this article from the State of New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Fall: A Great Time for Planting. 

Even if the plants were put in the ground at the perfect time, they still may have been rootbound from being in the pot too long, and needed some clipping to stop those roots from going around and around in the pot and turn out into the dirt. Maybe someone got over-zealous and put a lot of fertilizer in the hole, thinking to benefit the tree. We don't recommend fertilizing when a plant is newly in the ground, you should never fertilize a stressed tree, and a newly transplanted tree is definitely under stress.

Bottom line: we really don't know what has caused the browning of your tree, but we suggest you have a visit with the nursery, describe the symptoms and see if there is a possibility of replacement.

 

More Trees Questions

Trees native to Long Island, NY
November 06, 2010 - My question is: What are the main trees that were native to Long Island before all other trees began to be brought into Long Island?
view the full question and answer

Corkscrew willow damage to roof in Detroit, MI.
August 13, 2009 - I have a corkscrew willow (Detroit, MI) that is huge and whose branches hang on top of the asphalt shingles of my mobile home. It has now been discovered that these shingles, under the branches, are ...
view the full question and answer

Freeze damage to my Norfolk Island Pine in Houston, TX
March 18, 2010 - Houston, Texas experienced a rare 3-day snow event this winter that allowed snow to stay on my 20 ft. Norfolk Pine, in the ground for over 10 yrs. Every branch is now brown with all dead foliage. I ha...
view the full question and answer

Removing and replacing juniper bushes
June 20, 2008 - Hi! I'm pulling up juniper bushes. (just don't like it) I'm getting down to the roots now on one side and I'm having a hard time getting them up. Any recommendations. They are near my drive...
view the full question and answer

Safe time to trim live oak trees
June 20, 2008 - Our live oak trees need a little trimming, as some of the branches are hanging too low, almost to the ground. We planted them about 5 years ago, so they are well established, healthy trees. My husband...
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