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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.

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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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Monday - May 11, 2015

From: Waxahachie, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Diseases and Disorders
Title: Elaeagnus sudden death in Waxahachie, TX
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in North Central Texas and have eleagnus planted along my fence in full sun. Last year one dropped all it's leafs and died. The same is happening to one beside it this year. I have sprayed it with an insecticide, but that doesn't appear to have done any good. There are no fire ants around them and water a fair amount. I have several others that are doing fine. I understand eleagnus are hardy plants, so I am asking if you have any suggestions as to what might be happening here. Thanks

ANSWER:

One species of Elaeagnus -- E. commutata --  is native to North America, but chances are your landscape plants are one of the introduced species which would be outside of our area of research and expertise.  However, the symptoms you describe sound like your shrubs might be succumbing to a soil-borne fungal disease called Cotton Root Rot.  It is a very common disease of shrubs in your area.  You should contact your county's Agricultural Extension Service agent for positive identification of the cause of death and for recommendations for what to do about it.

 

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