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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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Tuesday - May 13, 2014

From: Junction, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Rare or Endangered Plants, Diseases and Disorders, Transplants, Trees
Title: Problems with transplanted Texas Madrones from Junction TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We planted 3 little Texas madrones last year 9 - 12 inches high. 2 of them seem to have some kind of black blight along the edges of the leaves that I don't think was the result of our late freezes. Is there something you can suggest that I should look for or something that I might can do to salvage them? They are in well drained places, though Heaven knows it has not rained. They are each within a 10 foot radius of cedar/juniper trees. Thank you.

ANSWER:

First of all, we very much hope you did not obtain your 3 Arbutus xalapensis (Texas madrone) trees by digging them up in the wild, and if you did, we hope you did so with the permission of the landowner.

Second, this USDA  Plant Profile Map does not show madrones growing natively in Kimble County but it does in adjacent Gillespie and Kerr Counties.

Third, from the US Forest Service Index of Species on Texas Madrone: "Texas madrone is listed as an endangered species by the Texas Organization for Endangered Species."

In answer to your question, we can easily identify the problem as transplant shock. We are going to list several previous answer links indicating how difficult this plant is to propagate and to transplant. We don't know what time of year you transplanted the little trees or what care they got after they were moved, but we recommend transplanting woody plants (trees and shrubs) only in cool weather, December and January in Texas.

Previous question from Dripping Springs, TX

Previous question from Belton TX

Previous answer from Utopia TX

Obviously, we could go on and on. There may very well be insects, climactic problems, soil, sunlight, who knows? We have nothing to offer as a solution.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas madrone
Arbutus xalapensis

Texas madrone
Arbutus xalapensis

Texas madrone
Arbutus xalapensis

Texas madrone
Arbutus xalapensis

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