Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - June 09, 2013

From: Glen Mills, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Poisonous Plants, Shrubs
Title: Damaged leaves on bottlebrush buckeye from Glen Mills PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My recently planted bottlebrush buckeye plants' leaves are looking damaged but it doesn't look like insect or fungus damage. They look battered by wind but I don't understand why that would happen. What could this damage be from?

ANSWER:

To start with the essentials, this USDA Plant Profile Map shows Aesculus parviflora (Bottlebrush buckeye) to be natiive to adjacent Montgomery Co., if not Delaware Co., so we are going to assume there are no soil or climate issues.

Here are the growing conditions of this plant, from our webpage on it:

"Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Description: Moist, well-drained, shallow soils over limestone or loamy sands.
Conditions Comments: Though susceptible to leaf scorch, bottlebrush is unique among the buckeyes for retaining its foliage, in good condition, well into fall. It is more tolerant of disease and insects than most buckeyes. Leaves may become quite colorful in fall; seemingly dependent on environmental conditions. Excellent for borders, as a specimen, or under shade trees."

This article from Floridata gives some more information on the plant. Please note especially the warning at the bottom of the page about poisonous parts of this plant.

Our first reaction was to ask if the plant was in full sun, because the Growing Conditions indicate Light Requirements of "part shade" (2 to 6 hours of sun a day) but further research indicated that plants in cooler climates (like Pennsylvania) could do well in full sun (6 hours or more of sun a day). Notice that our webpage mentions "leaf scorch" so we did some research on that.

From the University of Rhode Island, please read this article about leaf scorch. Note particularly these comments from that article:

'Leaf scorch can be caused by many adverse environmental conditions, including soil compaction, transplant shock, nutrient deficiency, drought, salt toxicity and herbicide injury. Leaf scorch is common in the Northeast due to cold soils and slow root growth."

"When using herbicides near trees, do not allow mist to settle onto trees and avoid spraying branches, foliage or trunks with the solution. Apply pesticides only on windless days to avoid problems with drift."

Our opinion is that you have an environmental problem. not an insect problem. We believe the shrub will survive, but should be watched and protected from any of the environmental problems mentioned above.

 

From the Image Gallery


Bottlebrush buckeye
Aesculus parviflora

Bottlebrush buckeye
Aesculus parviflora

Bottlebrush buckeye
Aesculus parviflora

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Young Mexican White Oak Losing Leaves in Texas
July 13, 2016 - I have a 5 yr old Mexican white oak, 20 ft tall losing its leaves mostly at the top. They turn brown & fall off. It does not lose its leaves in the winter, right?. About 3 ft from the top down is bare...
view the full question and answer

Verticillium wilt in catalpa and maple
July 17, 2008 - On Monday - July 07, 2008, you answered a question about a catalpa and maple with the same problem--an entire branch died, and then more of the tree died. And both trees came from the same nursery. Th...
view the full question and answer

Treating splits in a Cottonwood tree trunk
August 09, 2014 - How to treat slipts in trunk of 4 year old Cottonwood tree.
view the full question and answer

Long term effects of pesticide from Lubbock TX
March 20, 2013 - I have 9 western pecan trees about 20 years old. Trunk sizes is from 18" to 39". I used a product Bayer Tree and Shrub, applied to the trees. I wonder what it will do to the trees. I talkd to Bayer ...
view the full question and answer

Young Bur Oak not Flourishing in Texas
November 06, 2014 - We have a bur oak in our SW Travis County lawn in Texas, planted about 3 years ago as a 6-7' tree. It is now about 12' but has not "flourished". It has put out virtually no horizontal branches, an...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.