En Español

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

Monday - April 30, 2012

From: Bandera, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Shrubs
Title: Mountain laurels with insect problems in Bandera, TX..
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have 3 mountain laurels about 8 yrs old. Suddenly about 3 yrs ago worms started decimating them. This yr I got dipel dust which works great but only for two weeks. I now have small red flies and tents on the plants. I don't want to dig them out and burn them; what next. I could see them arrive [worms ] from the next property by strings. No one lives next door and it has been derelect for yrs. Help!~!!

ANSWER:

Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) is a beautiful hill country native , and should be right at home in Bandera County. It is frequently touted as not having serious disease and pest problems. Well you probably feel that isn’t true.

The worms that you mention are probably the larval form of the Genista moth, and are sometimes called Sophora worms. This web site describes their life cycle and gives tips for getting rid of them. This guide from the Desert Botanical Garden ( Phoenix, AZ ) also has helpful information.

For the other conditions that you describe, it would be more helpful to have someone who can actually look at your trees and make an assessment. You should be able to find such a person at the Bandera County Office of Texas AgriLife Extension.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Shrubs Questions

Trees and shrubs for adobe soil in Penngrove CA
June 19, 2010 - Hi, I'd like to find a list of trees that are native, drought tolerant and suitable to the adobe soil in Penngrove. We will be landscaping a bare .5 acre parcel starting later this fall. Another fea...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 12, 2014 - We live in Magnolia TX and have a shrub we can't identify. It's evergreen and has waxy leaves with a serrated edge that are about an inch in length. They have pink flowers and they grow to ab...
view the full question and answer

Potted Plumbago, struggling with the heat, in Spring Texas
June 29, 2011 - Why do some of the leaves of my plumbagos that are grown in large, well-draining planters turn brown? The brown starts on the tips, then extends to the whole leaf. They get several hours of west aft...
view the full question and answer

Texas Mountain Laurel in Florida
March 13, 2009 - Hi Mr. Smarty, This is more a comment than a question about Barbara Medford's (Estero, FL) question of whether you can grow Texas Mountain Laurel in Ft. Myers, FL. About 4 yrs. ago, I purchased a ...
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

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center