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
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

Need suggestions for plants for a privacy screen for a pecan orchard in Chappell Hill, TX.
September 21, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, My family has just begun converting our land in Chappell Hill, TX (Washington County) into a pecan orchard. We had to clear a lot of the overgrowth around the edge of the proper...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for Pflugerville, TX in blackland soil
March 21, 2008 - Mr. S-P, I'm perusing the plant sale list for a couple of tall shrubs to plant on the sunny southwest side of my house, in Blackland soil. It is generally dry there because of the sun, but can ge...
view the full question and answer

Can a soapberry tree be grown in Colorado Springs?
May 04, 2010 - I live in Colorado Springs and I was wondering if it is possible to grow a soapberry tree here?
view the full question and answer

Re-landscaping neglected garden in Franklin CT
April 03, 2011 - I am starting from scratch in a yard that has no planting beds or, for that matter, plants at all. House was vacant for quite some time, grass was three feet tall when we moved in. I would like to p...
view the full question and answer

Spacing of Trees near a House Foundation
June 18, 2015 - Can you recommend non-invasive shade tree that can be planted 6 to 7 feet from foundation. We are buying a new home in zone 8a and choices that are given are: Live Oak, Lacebark Elm, Cedar Elm, and B...
view the full question and answer

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