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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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Thursday - September 04, 2014

From: Roanoke, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Trees
Title: Weeping Willow Problem in Texas
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

Our weeping willow's leaves are turning yellow and falling off. We are also seeing some brown, gnarly looking pods on some of the stems can you tell us what's happening?

ANSWER:

There are several problems of willows (Salix spp.) that could cause the leaves to turn yellow and fall off as well a couple of problems that could cause the brown pods on some of the stems.

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension has an informative Texas Plant Disease Handbook website that has a page on willow problems. One listed is crown gall which is caused by a bacterium that causes larger swellings on the stems. Here’s what they say…

Crown Gall (bacterium – Agrobacterium tumefaciens): Mainly a nursery disease. Large, rough, woody swellings or galls on the lower part of the stem and crown of the plant. Infected plants may be deformed, stunted or even killed. Weeping willow is susceptible. No practical control is known for this disease.

The other possibility for the unusual growths on the stems is that it is one of many willow galls that are formed by the plant in response to a stimulus from an insect, mite, nematode or disease. David Shetlar of Ohio State University Extension has a very good factsheet online about Willow Galls and simply recommends pruning out the galls as they are not a serious threat to the plant.

 

 

 

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