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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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Thursday - October 01, 2015

From: High Ride, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Willow Tree with Bark and Leaves Falling Off in Missouri
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

My willow tree is suddenly lost leaves on 1/2 of the tree. The tree has 2 major trunks and the leaves that have fallen (all off within about 3 weeks) are on one trunk but the bark is impacted on both trunks. The bark on this tree is loose - large pieces could actually be pulled off. Under the bark looks like a fibrous vine has climbed up (on the inside of the bark, not the outside). This fibrous material looks to be dead and can be pulled off under the bark that is falling off. Help please, I can't find anyone that has an idea what is happening or how I can save my tree. This tree is about 11 years old but has grown quite large.

ANSWER:

It sounds like your willow has a serious problem. Large pieces of bark falling off your tree combined with falling leaves are signs that an arborist should be called in to take a look. An arborist will want to investigate the root zone area, the trunk for pests and perhaps even look at the vascular tissue of the tree branches for internal blockages.

The Missouri Department of Conservation has a good information webpage with tips on hiring an arborist.

 

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