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 Pests Questions

Insect damage to Meyer lemon in Texas
February 19, 2015 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a Meyer Lemon tree in Galveston. It produced a lot of lemons. However, something has bit up to quarter sized holes from the side edges of the leaf. Could you please...
view the full question and answer

Green cyst-like growths on Texas persimmon leaves
September 20, 2013 - We have a mature Texas persimmon. We just noticed some green cyst-like growths on the tops of some of the leaves. The undersides of those leaves have black spots where the growths are. They looks like...
view the full question and answer

Sap dripping from redbud in Bertram, TX
March 03, 2014 - Our multi-trunked Texas redbud has sap dripping down 3 of the trunks. It seems to originate from a very small crack in each trunk. The tree is just starting to show pink this week, and is about to blo...
view the full question and answer

Weedy buffalo grass from Dripping Springs, TX
March 07, 2013 - I have a buffalo grass lawn. It is thin and filled with weeds. I would like to find a solution to improve my lawn. I prefer a native grass but I need to be able to control the weeds and I am not ph...
view the full question and answer

Native nightshade that is a host to hornworm-hawk's eye moth
October 03, 2013 - Is there a native nightshade that serves as a host to tomato hornworm/hawks eye moth? I like the moth and as a gardener do not like the hornworm. I would like to have a patch of not terribly toxic nig...
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