Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
1 rating

Sunday - April 12, 2009

From: Midwest City, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Problems with Crape Myrtles in Oklahoma.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I planted Crape Myrtles,Catawba, that are about 4 feet high. I planted them last October. They all had new leaves on them a week ago. All of the leaves are now brown and shriveled up. There is a touch of green on some of the leaves but not much. Are they dead? Did this happen because of the cold? Will fertilizing with fish guts (not sure of product name) help them?

ANSWER:

Crape myrtle  Lagerstroemia indica , even though it appears to be the "State Shrub" of Texas, is not a native of the United States. From your description, it sounds like the new spring growth on your plants got hit pretty hard by the cold snap that passed through Texas and Oklahoma. Fish guts are not going to undo the damage caused by the cold. Your best bet is to watch and wait to see if the plants recover on their own.

By the way, we would be remiss if we didn't mention that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is focused on the care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Plants native to an area are already adapted to the conditions by millennia of experience and will require less water, fertilizer and maintenance. Crape myrtles are native to southeast Asia, and are therefore out of our range of expertise.

These two websites can give you more information about Lagerstroemia indica:

Floridata

University of Georgia Extension

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

White fungus-like growths on plants from Stephenville TX
May 25, 2013 - What is a white fungus-like growth on plants in a garden? It can be seen on the ground in ball-like shapes similar to puff balls or on plants
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in Liatris spicata
May 25, 2008 - I bought a liatris spicata start a month ago, and transplanted it into my front yard (full sun, clay soil, moist due to all the rain recently). The plant immediately wilted so I transplanted it in ...
view the full question and answer

Red buckeye not blooming in NY
July 04, 2011 - I planted my red buckeye in September 2007 and it was about 18 inches tall. It is now a few inches short of 5ft. tall. I have had it in the ground for nearly 4 yrs and it has never bloomed. I have fr...
view the full question and answer

Yaupons dying back in San Antonio
April 23, 2009 - I have 4 yaupon shrubs in the same area for several years. This past winter one turned brown from inside to outside very quickly. It is dead but the roots are not loose. The others began doing the sam...
view the full question and answer

Where to test for Bacterial Leaf Scorch in Austin, Texas
September 26, 2010 - It appears that the American elm trees in my backyard may have Bacterial Leaf scorch. Where can I have this confirmed?
view the full question and answer

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