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

Monday - May 11, 2009

From: Elgin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Trees
Title: Why are the eastern red cedars in Bastrop/Travis County turning brown?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I live on the Bastrop/Travis county, TX line and have many eastern red cedars on my property. About 10 of them are dying and it has happened quickly with the onset of the warmer weather. I noticed driving along the highway, the countryside is just peppered with brown cedars that are already dead. This is just something that has started happening this year. I've not seen it in years past. For my dying trees that i can reach with the water supply, I've been letting water drip for hours at a time, hoping it is drought related. So far no change though. Any idea what might be happening?

ANSWER:

The eastern red cedar Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar)  is the most widely distributed conifer of tree size in the Eastern United States, and East Texas certainly has its share.

Yours is the second question we have received lately regarding browning of the Junipers, and excerpting from the previous answer, the causes could be:

too much water

too little water

juniper scale (an insect disease)

spider mites

juniper twig blight ( fungal disease)

The websites below have descriptions of the various diseases that may allow you determine the cause of the problem.

The National Forest  Service article on Eastern Red Cedar gives an overview of the biology of the tree and the agents that attack it.

 Kansas State Research and Extension has a down-loadable publication titled "Juniper Diseases" that covers fungal diseases of Juniper.

Clemson Extension has an article titled "Juniper Diseases and Insect pests".

New Mexico State University Extension  has a nice discussion of spidermites.

A source of help closer to home of course is the Bastrop County (or Travis County) office of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service which can put you in touch with the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory.

We would be interested in learning what kind of results you get.

 

 

More Trees Questions

A tree to replace a pin oak in PA
January 25, 2011 - My 120 yr old pin oak has root and butt rot, 5 of 13 roots dead by pressure testing. I am in Pittsburgh PA. I want to plant a root rot resistant tree, either evergreen, fir or deciduous. The tree is 9...
view the full question and answer

Growing a Texas Mountain Laurel in Pennsylvania
May 20, 2012 - Can I grow a Texas Mt. Laurel in Lancaster, PA?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Colorado blue spruce in Indiana
August 16, 2005 - I live in Indiana. I have a Colorado blue spruce that I would like to transplant to a different part of my yard. What is the best time of year to transplant it? It is only about two foot tall.
view the full question and answer

Fall Planting Colorado Blue Spruce in Indiana.
October 15, 2009 - I live in Northern Indiana, and I want to plant a couple of Colorado Blue Spruces that are 3-6 feet in height and Balled and Burlapped. Is it okay to plant them this time of year?
view the full question and answer

Identification of pines on I35 between Dallas and Denton
May 03, 2011 - I frequently drive I-35E from Dallas up to Denton and I've often wondered if the pine trees that I see near the road and in the surrounding areas, especially between Lewisville and Denton, have been ...
view the full question and answer

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