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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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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!

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Monday - July 23, 2007

From: tyler, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Cause of chlorosis on dogwood
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Help!! I have been gone for three days, when I came home and looked out my back door I discovered that one of my huge dogwoods was turning yellow. We have had more than our share of rain this year and the major lack of rain just last year. We live on a hill with lots of iron ore clay and rock, so we get pretty good run-off where this tree is. Can you tell me anything?

ANSWER:

We can give you some direction, but we're afraid that we can't solve the mystery of your dogwood's problem.

Yellow foliage (chlorosis) on dogwood is often a sign of iron deficiency. Since you enjoy iron-rich soil, and your other dogwoods are not exhibiting any chlorosis, that is not likely the cause of the problem you describe.

Yellow foliage can also be a sign of a disease. I suspect that is the problem with your tree. Vascular fungus diseases are often first noticed when leaves turn yellow or red, wilt or get burnt edges. Crown canker disease is the most likely problem that we can think of, but it could also be a root-rot disease.

To find out for sure what is causing your tree's leaf chlorosis, you will need to get some local help -- someone who can look at your tree and possibly examine parts of it. A professional arborist would be your best bet for identifying the problem and recommending a solution. You might also consider contacting your county's cooperative extension service agent for information and possible disease diagnosis.

 

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