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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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Thursday - July 17, 2008

From: Chimayo, NM
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Verticillium wilt in catalpa and maple
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

On Monday - July 07, 2008, you answered a question about a catalpa and maple with the same problem--an entire branch died, and then more of the tree died. And both trees came from the same nursery. This fits the exact description of verticillium wilt, which both catalpas and maples are susceptible to. If you can post this answer somehow, it could be very important since the fungus may have come from the nursery.

ANSWER:

You are correct that verticillium wilt could have caused the demise of both trees in our previous answer. We did refer the person who inquired to their local Extension office. We also recommended that they call in a trained arborist to physically examine the trees. It's very difficult to analyze or prescribe diseases from the descriptions given us, and it should be someone with local knowledge that makes that decision. And, hopefully, to follow up on the nursery from which the trees came. Unfortunately, most of our questions just want a quick fix and we're afraid they don't always follow up on reading our referenced information and/or getting a local expert to actually look at the problem. We appreciate your calling this to our attention, and we hope that others with similar situations will realize that there are problems that we cannot solve online. Even if we hit the nail on the head, knowing what the problem is does not necessarily cure it without positive action on the part of the gardener.

 

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