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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - August 12, 2012

From: Wimberley, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Trees
Title: Insect damage on possumhaw
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

We planted a small possumhaw in February of this year (2012). It had leaves and some berries and was doing real well until some bug starting eating the leaves and berries. I know it is not deer because it is surrounding by a cage. I have not seen any insects or caterpillars on it but the leaves have slowly been nibbled away until there are none. The plant is now putting out new sprouts on most branch tips. I realize that this has been the year of the bugs. Being new to Texas, we have seen insects that we did not know existed. Should we be concerned and should we do anything?

ANSWER:

Ilex decidua (Possumhaw) does not normally have many insect or disease problems.  I have a feeling that your possumhaw may have been stressed during one of the dry spells we have had this year.  Newly planted trees are more prone to stress than established trees. When a plant is stressed it often redirects some of the goodies it makes through photosynthesis.  Thus the leaves may get more sugars or other metabolites than normal.  This can attract insects that usually would not find the leaves tasty.  The fact that your possumhaw's branch tips are leafing out again is a good sign.  I believe that if you keep the tree well watered and mulched it will survive and resume healthy growth next year.

 

From the Image Gallery


Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

More Trees 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

When is Texas mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) mature
October 08, 2007 - Can you tell me the life cycle for the native Texas mesquite? I have found one source that says it matures in 2-5 years, but no other sources confirm this. We are hoping to classify mesquite flooring ...
view the full question and answer

Mountain laurel with new leaves or new seed pods
May 11, 2008 - Each spring, my Texas Mountain Laurel seems to put new leaves only on selected branches (actually trunks), and put on seed pods on other trunks. It seems to be mutually exclusive: trunks with new seed...
view the full question and answer

Determining distance of trees from paving in NE Indiana
December 09, 2005 - I'd like to plant 3 types of trees (Catalpa speciosa- Northern Catalpa; Juglans cinerea - Tulip Tree; and Acer saccharum - Sugar Maple) next to sidewalks and driveways, but need to know if they have ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native crape myrtles in Noblesville IN
August 01, 2012 - Can Crepe Myrtle trees be grown in Noblesville IN 46060? I believe we are zone five.
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center