En Español

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

Wednesday - August 14, 2013

From: Charlottesville, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Vines
Title: Tip Dieback on Lonicera sempervirens
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have a Lonicera sempervirens (coral honeysuckle) vine in Virginia which does well early in the season, but then around July, the very tips of its shoots (just the last 1-2 inches) wither, turn black, and die. It looks like the kind of damage a cane borer would cause. Except for this, the rest of the plant seems healthy. I'd be grateful for any advice about what the problem may be, and how to fix it.

ANSWER:

Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle) is a popular garden plant that could have problems with aphids, soft-bodied sucking insects that excrete a sugary substance (honeydew) that coats the leaves. A black fungus (sooty mold) then will grow on the honeydew.  Aphid damage often occurs on the new growth. Other problems include leaf spot diseases and environmental damage from drought, drowning and edema reports the University of Illinois extension.

Other problems reported by Edward F. Gilman from the University of Florida extension could include four-lined plant bug causing sunken, round, brown spots on the leaves. Scale insects infesting the stems and branches or powdery mildews forming white dust-like substances on the leaves.

Nancy Szerlag on the gardening.yardiner.com website offers one additional (and more likely) possibility, honeysuckle leaf blight. She has observed that a fungal blight disease attacks new honeysuckle leaves causing them to curl severely and turn brown or black, then fall prematurely. Remove and destroy infected plant parts and spray the vines every 7 to 10 days with a copper-based fungicide from the time buds swell to just before flowers open.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

More Pests Questions

Replacements for yuccas from Georgetown TX
August 07, 2013 - I have lost some softleaf and variegated yucca to a beetle grub destroying the root system - like the Agave snout beetle does. I have put an insecticidal drench on my remaining plants, but suspect wi...
view the full question and answer

Small tan balls on oak from Pipe Creek TX
May 21, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, our spanish oak is growing tan colored lumpy balls about the size and weight of a marshmallow..sometimes just one at the end of a short stem and sometimes 2-3 clumped together....
view the full question and answer

Plants ants avoid from McAllen TX
May 22, 2010 - Which native plants do ANTS avoid (are there?)? We have a big ant problem here. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Squirrels eating seed pods of Rock Rose in Austin
June 24, 2011 - Squirrel(s) have been ripping the branches off my rock rose bushes in order to eat the seed pods. Previously we had problems with squirrel(s) gnawing on our garden ornaments. I sprayed the ornaments ...
view the full question and answer

Unknown pest of Texas Mountain Laurel from Round Rock TX
May 24, 2012 - I have a Texas Mountain Laurel that is being denuded from the top down by something unseen. It's not the Genista moth larvae, as there are no worms and no webbing visible. The only clue that it might...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center