En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Leaves turning yellow on Banana Shrub in Eutaw. AL

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 - July 28, 2013

From: Eutaw, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Leaves turning yellow on Banana Shrub in Eutaw. AL
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We have a very large (about 12' tall), very old (probably planted in the early 1900s) Banana Shrub in our front yard. It was very healthy until last year when its leaves began turning yellow and falling during the Summer and Fall. This did not happen in years past. This Spring, it bloomed well and put out many new leaves. Many soon turned yellow and dropped leaving parts of the shrub bare. Even so, there is evidence of new leaves coming out. Our soil is fairly acidic. We have had heavier than usual rainfall and milder winters for the last few years.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants must confess that he was unfamiliar with Banana Shrub, and thought that this might be one of those common names that is widely used, and hard to pin on just one plant. A quick search of the web reveals that Banana Shrub is consistently linked to Michella figo  which is a member of the Magnolia family. It is a native of China, and thus is not in our NPIN Database.

This link to floridata indicates that it was introduced to the US in the 1700’s, and can grow up to 12 feet tall in acidic fertile, well-drained soil.

A link from Cal Poly suggests that it can reach up to 20 feet tall with a longevity of 50 to 150 years.

Information from University of Florida Extension says it can grow in either sun or light light shade, and it prefers a slightly acidic, well-drained sandy soil that has been enriched with organic material.

Whenever you have a plant that has been doing well, but suddenly starts doing poorly, you need to explore what has changed in the plant’s environment; new sprinkler system? over fertilization?

The symptoms sort of point toward too much water on the roots which could be a result of your additional rainfall and  a watering schedule that hasn’t changed to accomadate the extra moisture. Here's a link from Oregon State University with watering tips you might use.

You can get more information on soils and watering from the ACES Offices  in Greene County.

 

More Trees Questions

Evergreen ornamental tree choice in northern Indiana
June 10, 2009 - Can you please advise on growing Lemon Cypress trees outdoors in zones 5/6 zip code 46311
view the full question and answer

Space for a desert willow in Odessa, TX
April 23, 2009 - I have a small planting space about 5X5 that is four feet in front of the side of my front door. It is right under the eaves of my house. It's rather an enclosed porch space. I have a new very sma...
view the full question and answer

Junipers for restoring area in Bulverde TX
November 03, 2012 - Are ashe or virginiana junipers for sale around the hill country? I would like to recreate the natural plant life that was bulldozed next to my home. Do you recommend any other types of juniper that ...
view the full question and answer

Dry browning leaves on Monterrey Oak from San Antonio
August 08, 2013 - I have a Monterey Oak that was planted four years ago and was doing great until the last two weeks. It has turned brown and the ends of the branches are very dry and brittle. The root flare was cov...
view the full question and answer

Lightning protection of smooth bark cypress
October 05, 2008 - I have been told that the smooth bark cypress stores a large amount of water at its base and if lightning strikes, it will explode and extinguish the flames. Could you tell me if this is a myth? I'...
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