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 - September 08, 2013

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Disease or insect damage on a Mexican plum
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Help, Our Mexican plum tree is about 13-14 years old. Earlier this year we noticed the trunk is oozing black stuff and whole branches are dying off. We have watched as our beloved tree has lost most of its remaining leaves this summer and want to know if this is just old age?? or perhaps something called verticullum??Chlrosis? SP? Is there anything we can do to save it outside of fumigating the ground? Would we be able to replant another Mexican plum in this location without treating the ground?

ANSWER:

Peach and plum trees are relatively short lived, often peaking around 10 years of age.  But it all depends upon conditions around the individual tree.  Your plum seems to be suffering from a fungal or bacterial disease, such as canker, or from attacks by borer insects.  The indicated websites give instructions for diagnosing the tree's problem and treating it. Deciding whether to doctor the tree or replace it probably depends upon your sentimental attachment to it.  A replacement tree should do well if you have taken the recommended precautions to destroy any pests that persist in the soil.  Also, young trees are usually more resistant to diseases than older ones.

If you do decide to replace your Mexican plum tree it would be best to wait until winter.  Replacements will be available in your local plant nurseries.

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Pruning live oak in Austin
April 28, 2012 - Hi, We recently purchased a house in South Austin and there is a huge Live Oak Tree about 6 feet from the back door (so so so love it!) The only real issues I have so far are: 1. Needing to trim a ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Carolina Laurel Cherry from Pflugerville, TX
September 02, 2011 - In 2007 we planted 7 Carolina Laurelcherry (Prunus caroliniana)across our back fence. Everything was fine until this year. Three of the trees seemed to get sick and a local arborist said the roots ne...
view the full question and answer

Leaf problems on oaks in North Liberty IA
June 12, 2010 - My oak trees (young and old) are showing leaf problems. Is there a disease or insect causing oak tree disease?
view the full question and answer

Problems with sunflowers in Florida
November 03, 2006 - I planted sunflowers on the west side of my house where I have previously planted them and they grew wonderfully. These new ones, however, seem to be dying, (less than 2 weeks). I bought the plants at...
view the full question and answer

Corona de Cristo, guest or pest?
July 12, 2008 - We have had two recent speakers at the Austin Butterfly Forum with differing views as to whether Passiflora foetida is invasive in Texas. One believes that it's well-behaved and a a great butterfly ...
view the full question and answer

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