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
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 Trees Questions

Recommendations for mature oak for Austin
October 08, 2008 - Mr. smarty pants- We would like to purchase a mature oak tree and have it planted in our yard in Austin. Recommendations, things to be aware of, you know, the general smarty pants treatment. Thank y...
view the full question and answer

Fruit on Mexican olive in Austin
June 05, 2008 - Does Mexican Olive set fruit in Austin? Does there need to be a male and female tree or not. How old does the plant have to be to set fruit? Mine is three years old but no olives. I need to know ...
view the full question and answer

Companion Plants for Salix nigra in Texas
April 02, 2015 - I'm looking the list of companion plants as well as those that might not go well with Salix nigra.
view the full question and answer

Native Trees for Pflugerville TX
September 28, 2013 - I'm looking for suggestions on native, drought tolerant conifers that can be located in a Pflugerville landscape under overhead electric lines. Open to Arizona Cypress, but concerned about the height...
view the full question and answer

Demise of Flameleaf Sumac in Austin, TX.
July 31, 2012 - My Flameleaf Sumac suddenly died. Beetles came out around the trunk when I cut it down. How can I prevent this on the other sumac?
view the full question and answer

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