Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Monday - April 02, 2007

From: Placerville, CA
Region: California
Topic: Trees
Title: Disease and soil disturbance effects on Pacific madrone
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have a couple acres, here in Northern California Sierra Nevada foothills. My property has many, many trees - quite a few are the beautiful (yet messy!) Arbutus menziesii, or Pacific Madrone. Some are old, large trees, you can tell have been around a while. The past year they have gotten sickly, and not just on my property... in this area as a whole they have died back, their leaves dying and falling, their bark turning black. I am afraid that my Madrones will all die and it will be like I'm living on a clearcut! Any info? Suggestions? Anything?! Thanks a bunch

ANSWER:

What a shame! These are one of Mr. Smarty Plants favorite trees. Discover Life from the University of Georgia has a very good description of Arbutus menziesii (Pacific madrone) and factors affecting its health (look for the section 3/4 the way down,"Damaging Agents"). You can also read about Diseases of Pacific Madrone in an article from the University of Washington College of Forest Resources (CFR). In addition to diseases, madrones are very sensitive to root disturbance and greatly resent construction activities and development too nearby.

Mr. Smarty Plants recommends that you contact your county California Cooperative Extension Agent (Placerville is in El Dorado County, I believe) to help you determine the cause of the madrones decline and possible actions you can take to save it.

 

More Trees Questions

Will Mountain Laurels be harmed by juglones from my pecan tree?
May 06, 2009 - Hi. I just bought a house. It has a big pecan tree at the edge of the front lawn next to the street. I guess it's about 25 feet from the front of the house. I was thinking of planting mountain la...
view the full question and answer

Variegated leaves on Ungnadia speciosa (Mexican buckeye)
April 11, 2007 - I grew some mexican buckeyes from seed last year and one of them has variegated leaves. I haven't seen this before- have I just not looked at enough mexican buckeyes up close or is this an uncommon f...
view the full question and answer

Cherry trees in the North Texas area
April 21, 2009 - Will cherry trees grow well in the North Texas area?
view the full question and answer

Patio materials under a native oak trees in Missouri
March 02, 2009 - Is it safe to build a pavestone patio (with gravel sub base, Geo tech 101 fabric and sand bed..around two 50+ year old native oak trees? I know concrete would compact and cause damage to the surface ...
view the full question and answer

Symmetrical Holes in Live Oak leaves.
April 08, 2009 - We have 2 young live oaks - quercus virginianum trees and their brand new leaves show two symmetrical rows of pin-sized holes punctured along the length of them. What could have caused this?
view the full question and answer

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