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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

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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 - August 03, 2015

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs
Title: American beautyberry losing leaves in San Antonio
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I planted 3 American beautyberry last fall, and 2 of them are doing great. All the leaves on the 3rd one suddenly started dropping about 2 weeks ago and it looks dead. I can't find anything to tell me what could be going on. I can e-mail a photo if it will help.

ANSWER:

It is hard to diagnosis plant problems from afar, either with or without photos. You have neglected to provide any information that would make it easier such as;  What kind of soil are they in?  Are they in sun or shade?  Are all of the plants in the same location?  How much water do they get?

Care information for American beautyberry Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) is included on its plant profile page. If you scroll down the page to Additional Resources, and click on Callicarpa americana beside USDA, you will get a distribution map that indicates the plant isn’t native in Bexar County.

One possibility could be transplant shock. I’m providing two links from Northscaping.com  that describe the conditions, and provides for preventing it and treating it.

First year tree and shrub care

Ten tips for minimizing transplant shock.

 To determine if your third plant is alive, you can do the "scratch test". Select an upper branch and remove some of the bark with your thumbnail. You are looking for green tissue beneath the bark. If you find none at the first site, continue testing further down the stem. If you get to the bottom of the plant without finding any green tissue, most likely the plant is dead.

For help closer to home, you may want to contact the folks at the Bexar County Office of Texas A&M  Agrilife Extension Service.



 

From the Image Gallery


American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

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