Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Wednesday - April 02, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Wildflowers
Title: Red spider mites in native bluebonnets in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What would you do if the WFC bluebonnets developed a bad case of red spider mites? That is what has happened to many of mine here in Austin. I noticed them the other day and I must have been asleep because they are looking in bad shape. I have never seen this before. The plants badly affected are both in my gardens and out in the native areas. Will I really get on top of them by spraying with the water? Might they move onto my other plants if I do so. I have already pulled several out that were too infested. Can I salvage the rest? Thanks Jenny Stocker

ANSWER:

Have you checked to make sure the problem is truly spider mites? Take a leaf and tap it over a piece of white paper-if you get little red dots, that's spider mites. We're wondering if the problem might be mildew, also. We've been having an unusual amount of humidity (unusual for this area) lately, and if your plants are crowded and/or not getting a lot of sun, they could be having some mildew problems. If it's mildew, obviously you don't want to treat it with a spray of water, as the water would just stand on the plant and make the problem worse. If you do, indeed, establish that it's spider mites, try spraying with a very weak solution of Safer Soap. In either case, the plants will go ahead and bloom and make seed, they just won't look too good.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

More Pests Questions

Replacements for yuccas from Georgetown TX
August 07, 2013 - I have lost some softleaf and variegated yucca to a beetle grub destroying the root system - like the Agave snout beetle does. I have put an insecticidal drench on my remaining plants, but suspect wi...
view the full question and answer

Shade Tolerant Groundcover for Texas
July 13, 2016 - I live in Atascosa county in Pleasanton Texas, I have an abundance of Live Oak and Ash trees shading my property and need a groundcover for my backyard which is nothing but sand and where I have dogs ...
view the full question and answer

Removing bermudagrass from buffalograss in Smithville TX
May 01, 2013 - I have a lawn created two years ago with buffalo grass sod in Smithville, TX. Recently several areas of bermudagrass have started to flourish in the buffalo grass lawn. Can you recommend a herbicide...
view the full question and answer

Do white-tailed deer consume King Ranch bluestem?
October 25, 2013 - Will white-tail deer in central Texas consume King Ranch bluestem ?
view the full question and answer

Green Ash Tree in California Dropping Seeds
July 06, 2016 - We have two large green ash trees in our front yard. 2 yrs ago, they began to lose seeds year round. When they're green and when they turn brown. I believe they may have termites or some type of in...
view the full question and answer

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