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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Tuesday - April 02, 2013

From: Dripping Springs, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Bugs eating new growth on Mountain Laurel shrubs from Dripping Springs TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What is eating the new growth on my mountain laurel shrubs? One plant has red bugs and the other has black (could they be love bugs?). Is there something I can do to preserve the new growth?

ANSWER:

One bug (called a "midrid") is the Red Mountain Laurel bug or Lopidea major. The link takes you to a Bug Guide page with pictures of this beastie.

Here is a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on that subject; follow whatever links are in that answer.

The only other major pest on Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) that we could find is the Genista caterpillar. That link goes to the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension IPM on Genista Caterpillar on Texas Mountain Laurel.

 

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