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 Pests Questions

Problem with mesquite tree limbs
June 13, 2014 - i keep finding some smaller branches of my mesquite tree in the turf area around the tree. when looking at the cut ends, they appear to have a smooth cut around the circumference of the limb about 1/...
view the full question and answer

Fungus gnats on indoor plants
July 09, 2007 - Hello, I live in Austin and I work in an office where we like to have plants. Recently we started to get these annoying tiny, little nits, how can we get rid of them without harming my plants. Help th...
view the full question and answer

Identification of red and black insects on Yucca
May 10, 2008 - I have little red and black insects on my soft leaf yucca and I don't know what they are or how to get rid of them. They make the leaves rusty looking. Do you have any idea what they are or how I can...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping for slope in Kansas City
October 08, 2008 - We have a down sloping back yard and patio on the lower area. We need some water absorbing plants near the foundation and some in the front of the house, where water isn't a problem. We are allergic ...
view the full question and answer

Control of borers attacking Prunus serotina
August 30, 2006 - Where can I find information to control borers that seem to attack only Prunus serotina v. exemia?
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