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 - May 21, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Trees
Title: Problem with leaves of Texas Ash in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We purchased a 3' to 4' Texas Ash in March 2012. The past few days I noticed new leaves at the top are curled under, have a milky substance on them, and more than a few ladybugs on them. What is this? What do I do?

ANSWER:

According to this USDA Plant Profile Map, Fraxinus texensis (Texas ash) is native to Travis County so we can strike that as a problem. We went to a website from Iowa State University Extension on Common Problems of Ash Trees. There were some pretty scary things, like Emerald Ash Borer, mentioned, but we think No. 19 holds the key:

"19. Leafcurl ash aphids feed on leaflets as they expand in the spring. The insect’s body is covered in white, waxy strands. Feeding causes leaflets to twist and curl. In addition, aphids secrete clear, sticky honeydew, which can speckle anything under the tree. Natural enemies usually control the aphids."

When you mentioned aphids, accompanied by ladybugs, that gave us the first clue. And the good news is, ladybugs are sworn foes of aphids. They are definitely one of the natural enemies that usually control aphids.

From a website called You Grow Girl we found this article Good Bugs, Bad Bugs: Ladybug vs. Aphid. We suggest you don't treat the problem at all, the ladybugs are handling it.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas ash
Fraxinus albicans

Texas ash
Fraxinus albicans

Texas ash
Fraxinus albicans

More Trees Questions

Removal of invasive horsetail in Shelby Township, MI
June 19, 2009 - Please help me or direct me to who may be able to help. I have horsetail (Equisetum) invading my Blue Rug Juniper. Please tell me what I can use to get rid of the horsetail (Equisetum) without killi...
view the full question and answer

Fruit trees for Kempner, Texas
November 29, 2013 - I just moved to Kempner , TX and would like to plant a couple of fruit trees in my 1 1/4 ac yard. I would like to plant a species that will do well and produce edible fruit. Any assistance will be app...
view the full question and answer

Heat tolerant arborvitae for Spring TX
September 20, 2012 - Is there an arborvitae that would be heat-tolerant to Spring, Texas (north of Houston) and amenable to neutral clay soil?
view the full question and answer

Bird-attracting trees in Marble Falls TX
May 24, 2010 - What fruiting trees/shrubs other than red mulberry are good to attract native birds (and for bird watching opportunities)? We'd prefer native species, but does white mulberry attract as many bird sp...
view the full question and answer

Tree with tap root for small area
August 24, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I'm looking for a tree with a tap root to plant for shade on the side of my patio. i have about a 4 foot area to plant in and it's 8 feet to my neighbors house. ..maybe somet...
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