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?


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

Wednesday - August 16, 2006

From: Nottingham, Other
Region: Other
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Disease problems of non-native Weeping Willow
Answered by: Joe Marcus


Could you please tell me why my weeping willow has got pink coloured leaves and seems very dry the bark is splitting and seems full of wood worm?


Weeping willow, Salix babylonica is a native of China. While it is much-loved for its elegance when healthy, Weeping willow is notorious for its many problems. Any number of insects and diseases attack Weeping willow. The problem you describe with the bark and wood is likely caused by wood borers. Moreover, the fast-growing tree has very weak wood which is highly susceptible to breaking, especially during high winds.

The pink foliage exhibited by your tree could be caused by a fungus or sucking insects (usually pinkish spots) or by some other form of stress. Some willows feature naturally pink foliage in summer. While S. babylonica is not known for pink leaves, it is possible that stress could cause the change of color.

While no other tree really has the aesthetic character of Weeping willow, its weaknesses may make you want to consider replacing it with another tree that is native, and thus adapted, to your area and not prone to your tree's many problems.

More Non-Natives Questions

Best for Austin-non-native loquat or kumquat?
May 04, 2010 - I was wondering which tree is suited better in the Austin,TX, area, the Loquat or the Kumquat, do they lose their leaves in the winter and do they bear fruits?
view the full question and answer

Thrips on non-native roses in Austin
June 11, 2009 - How can I get rid of thrips that have totally invaded all of my roses?
view the full question and answer

Planting onions in Michigan
July 30, 2009 - Hello, I live in Mi in zone 5. Can I plant green onions now (7/30/09)? And will they have enough time to have for an October-ish harvast? Thanks
view the full question and answer

When and how to prune lavender (Lavandula sp.)
March 20, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants I have a Goodwin Creek Lavender plant that I planted last year. It did very well but my question is about pruining. It seems that there is some growth coming up now that it...
view the full question and answer

Planting iris rhizomes in Wisconsin
October 10, 2008 - I live in central WI and was given some iris bulbs (think they are called Rhizomes) and have no idea how to go about planting them. I am very new to planting so step by step instructions with good de...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center