En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Sunday - June 17, 2012

From: Brooklyn, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Problems with non-native parsley from Brooklyn NY
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Had beautiful flat leaf parsley plants recently turn yellow & die. Found black armadillo like bugs bored throughout the roots. Now they're spreading. How do I kill them without contaminating the plants & garden ?

ANSWER:

Petroselinum crispum (parsley) is native to the middle Meditteranen region of southern Italy, Algeria and Tunisia and thus falls out of Mr. Smarty Plants' expertise in plants native not only to North America but also to the area in which the plant is being grown. From the University of Purdue, Horticulture here is an article on Parsley.

Now, to try and discover what is causing the death of your parsley plants. The bugs that you call "armadillo-like," we always called "pill bugs" in Texas.  But your description is very good because the scientific name of that bug is Armadillidiidae (whoo, hope we don't have to spell that again!). While they are visible around your damaged parsley plants, we don't think they are the cause of the problem but only an indication. The pill bug lives in moist, protected places, and feeds on mold and rotting vegetation. In other words, something else damaged your parsley and the pill bugs are just cleaning up.  From the University of Kentucky, more information and pictures.

We found this article on Parsley Pest Managment Strategic Plan and, while we didn't read the whole thing, we did find some indications of some pests that may be the real culprits. The top candidate in our mind is the Listronatus oregonensis, Carrot Weevil. Scroll down to Page 18 of the article for a description of the damage this critter does to parsley and see if it matches the damage in your parsley. From Ohio State University An Integrated Pest Management Program for Carrot Weevil in Parsley.

Since we are gardeners and not entomologists, you're on your own now.

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Montana native plants to create a garden with edible plants
January 14, 2013 - Hi Smarty Plants We are looking to create a native herb, vegetable, root, fruit, flower and ground cover garden for the area of Hot Springs, Sanders County, Montana. Our zone is 4 and soil is mostly ...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Cahaba lily from Columbia TN
September 03, 2011 - My cahaba lilies have so many seed pods. I would like to use the seeds properly to grow more lilies. Can anyone tell me the best way to go about it? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Annual plants for weed control in Pflugerville,TX?
September 14, 2010 - Can you suggest an annual or summer-dormant plant to mix with Dalea frutescens? The object is to discourage the spring-emerging weeds that precede the leafing out of the Dalea, so it should finish bl...
view the full question and answer

Green blooms on Cedar Sage in Lucas TX
September 22, 2010 - I have two Cedar Sage (Salvia roemeriana) one purchased from your plant sale and one from a local nursery planted in part shade in the Dallas area. They seem to be quite happy and are blooming but ...
view the full question and answer

Slope Erosion control for Fairview NC
August 19, 2012 - Please recommend plants to help with soil erosion on a slope. The soil is red clay and area gets full sun. The slope is approximately 12' x 12'. I live in Fairview, NC
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center