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
10 ratings

Wednesday - August 01, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests, Trees
Title: Sticky stuff dripping from non-native crape myrtle in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford


There is sticky sap-like stuff dropping from the very large crepe myrtle in my yard. The tree has quit blooming. This didn't happen last year when it was so dry; it started after we had all the rain in July. I assume it's a fungus or aphid related somehow to the rain. My question is: should I be worried about the tree? Is there something I should be doing to treat it?


This is a very common complaint this time of year, especially in Austin, and crape myrtles seem to be absolute magnets for aphids. Lagerstroemia indica (crape myrtle) is native to China and therefore not in Mr. Smarty Plants' realm of expertise nor our Native Plant Database. Here is a previous answer on this subject. Avoid herbicides, as they will kill beneficial insects that help control the aphids, but not disturb the aphid eggs that will soon hatch into more aphids. A spray of soapy water will help to wash off aphids and eggs.


More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native, invasive rescue grass in meadow garden in Smithville TX
September 20, 2012 - Despite numerous efforts, a solid field of cool weather rescue grass keeps desired wildflower and grass seeds from successfully growing on my "vacant" lot in town. I plan to I put out a 6 ml plasti...
view the full question and answer

Edibility of non-native garlic sprouts from Brancburg, NJ
March 12, 2013 - I have regular garlic in my refrigerator. It had sprouts growing out of it so I put it in a cup of water. Now that the stems are large enough to put in food, my question is.. Is that part of the garl...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Sago Palm from Bulverde TX
June 12, 2012 - My husband's job has taken him out of state and he left me in charge of his 27 year old sago palms, (house plants, sort of bonsai). They waited until he left and then quite perversely sprouted 3 foo...
view the full question and answer

Insects in non-native weeping willow
September 17, 2008 - My weeping willow is dropping small black insects. Thousands of 1/16" cover the ground etc. Insects stain a raspberry, purple color when smashed. Insects are very soft.Insects present about 3 weeks...
view the full question and answer

When to plant bermudagrass in East Texas
July 17, 2009 - When to plant Bermuda grass in East TX, Center, Nacodoches, Lufkin and Center area?
view the full question and answer

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