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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - July 14, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Trees
Title: Aphids in pecan tree from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Last year at this time (midsummer) everything under the canopy of our 60+ year old pecan tree was covered with a sticky substance--plants, lawn furniture, concrete pool deck..Since we had never seen this before we assumed it had something to do with the severe drought--and the lack of rain to wash things off. However, it is happening again this year. We've asked our tree guy and nursery staff, but no one knows what it is. It does not 'hose off.' Would appreciate advice--even where we might go for help.


Easy one. We are surprised none of the sources you consulted knew what it was. Here is a recent Mr. Smarty Plants question discussing the reason for the sticky stuff. Another website we would direct you to is the Integrated Pest Management site from the University of California on Aphids. What you need to hose off is the tree; it will wash a lot of the aphids off and they can't get back up so readily. Avoid herbicides because it will likely kill beneficial insects that feed off the aphids.


More Pests Questions

Failure to thrive of Lantanas
August 06, 2008 - Here at work we have 4 beautiful yellow Santanas(should I say had), the leaves have started to turn brown and no longer blooming. Appears to have a fungus or disease. Please help!
view the full question and answer

Damage to ruellia in Monroe LA
October 26, 2009 - I have hundreds of Ruellia Brittoniana. Dwarf Katie White, Katie Blue and Katie Pink. I am finding holes in some of the leaves, Some just have notches chewed out of them. Some of the leaves have...
view the full question and answer

Webs on limbs of evergreen sumac from Austin
May 13, 2014 - We have a mature Evergreen Sumac (Rhus virens) that has spider webs on the end of some limbs. The end of the those limbs have died although new growth is coming on further up the limb. We live in th...
view the full question and answer

Spots on persimmon tree leaves from Dripping Springs TX
July 10, 2013 - We are in rural Hays County Texas off Hamilton Pool Rd Texas. Large persimmon trees are turning yellow, blackish spots on underside of leaves. What do we do?
view the full question and answer

Problems with Gregg's mistflower from Fredericksburg, TX
May 19, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: Something is wilting the tops of my Gregg's mistflower, Conoclinium greggii. I cannot see bugs on the plant, so I am wondering if it's a disease. The problem is widespread to...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center