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

Wednesday - July 16, 2014

From: Fort Worth, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs
Title: Yaupon hollies dying mysteriously
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I have a row of yaupon hollies (Ilex vomitoria) that I keep trimmed like a hedge. They were all healthy for many years. Two years ago one of them died and I removed it, leaving a gap in the line of hedges. This year the yaupon next to that one died also, and I cut it off at the stump, leaving a gap of 2 spaces. Now the yaupon next in line shows stress and looks like will die. Can you suggest what the problem is, or what to do? Each time when I saw one of the yaupons stating to die, I watered it deeply once a week. Could the problem be that I watered too much, such that the overwatering affected the one next to the one that was dying? This is in Fort Worth. Thanks in advance for your help. Richard Marshall

ANSWER:

Although Yaupon is not native to the Fort Worth area, it can obviously grow well there, as evidenced by your past success.  However, in times of stress, such as we had in the severe drought two years ago, Yaupon's normal tolerance to pests or disease (see the following article) may be compromised.  I suspect that your plants may be succoming to black root rot.  You might be able to discern signs of root damage as shown here.  

I suggest that you remove the ailing plant and the soil from the affected area and replace the soil with fresh, compost-enriched soil to give the increased acidity that Yaupon prefers.  It may help to drench the soil with a fungicide.  Make certain that the area is well drained to discourage fungal growth.  If you replace the killed plants, try to buy plants that have been grown locally.  They should be better adapted to your region.  Good luck in cultivating this useful shrub.

 

More Shrubs Questions

Why did the blossoms on my mountain laurels dry up before they flowered?
March 15, 2015 - Why did the blossoms on my mountain laurels dry up before they flowered?
view the full question and answer

Dog-proof shrubs in Woodmere NY
May 21, 2009 - My chocolate lab thinks that shrubs are the same as "fetch" sticks..she's ripped out my azalea, rhododendron, andromeda and a few others I'm not sure of the names. She's a great pup (almost 1 yr...
view the full question and answer

Reducing Allergens in Yards and Gardens
January 31, 2012 - What are some allergen-free native plants to Central Texas that thrive in the soil and can survive in the weather?
view the full question and answer

Aromatic sumac in Travis County
August 14, 2010 - This is an answer to article in today's, August 14, newspaper. I assume that aromatic sumac is native to Travis county because I have it all over my property. It turns bright red in the fall adding...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a Privacy Barrier Plant for NC
August 21, 2014 - I am trying to determine the best plant for a privacy barrier for my area in NC that has clay soil. I have a 6 foot high fence but need something 12 feet or taller. It has to be something that does no...
view the full question and answer

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