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
1 rating

Thursday - April 05, 2012

From: Phoenix, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Texas wild olive tree
Answered by: Ray Mathews

QUESTION:

I live in the Phoenix area. My Texas wild olive (Cordia boissieri) is about 5 years old, about 12 feet tall and has beautiful blossoms all year long. However, this past year (through all seasons) some of its leaves developed yellow/brown spots and other leaves are completely brown and falling off. I am not able to find much information on the diseases of this plant. Might this be a lack of N2? a mold? overwatering? ???? Any guidance you might be able to provide would be appreciated. Thank you.

ANSWER:

The wild olive tree Cordia boissieri (Mexican olive) is an evergreen native only to Texas in the U.S.,  but also to several states in northern and southern Mexico, including Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz, per the following Agricultural Research Service, Germplasm Resources Information Network link. This rare small tree is reportedly ideal as an ornamental for confined areas. It is drought tolerant and insect and disease pests are generally of no concern. Birds and other wildlife feed on the fruit. It blooms in late May through early June.

However, since Cordia boissieri isn’t native in Arizona , it may be the wrong plant for Arizona. The symptoms you are observing may be due to mold or overwatering. We don't believe that nitrogen deficiency is the problem.

Bill Britt’s garden website offers the possibility of frost as an immediate cause, but the earlier browning does not follow the description for these symptoms?

We believe that you need someone who can look at the plant, and make an informed assessment. For that we suggest you contact the folks at the Maricopa County Office of Arizona Cooperative Extension for some help closer to home.

 

 

 



 

From the Image Gallery


Mexican olive
Cordia boissieri

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Apparent disease in peach tree in Austin
June 12, 2008 - I have a peach tree that the leaves are "bleeding" out on. The leaves are continuing to get paler and paler. There are no peaches on the tree this year either. What can I do?
view the full question and answer

Bignonia capreolata with brown leaves in Pennsylvania
April 24, 2009 - 3 year old crossvine leaves brown and dead looking. Will it come back and bud out? Crossvine on fence southern exposure. Crossvine on fence in another area has leaves and are dark green/purple - sa...
view the full question and answer

Young Maple Dropping Leaves in Late Summer
September 05, 2013 - I have a 6-year-old maple tree. I'm not sure what type it is as the builder planted it. It is as tall as our two-story house and very healthy. It's the biggest tree in our neighborhood because we fe...
view the full question and answer

What's that sticky stuff on plants under many trees?
August 23, 2010 - Here in Austin, I've recently noticed a sticky film appearing on shrubs, flowers, grass, etc. under many trees. It appears to be coming from the trees under which they are planted. The sticky film ...
view the full question and answer

Mountain Laurel having trouble in AZ
June 07, 2011 - A Sophora secundflora (Texas mountain laurel) was planted to an Arizona north faced front yard last year in August under full sun. Starting early this year, I noticed its leaves turn to light green an...
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