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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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Friday - June 05, 2009

From: Cibolo, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Rust-colored spots on Lantana?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Cibolo TX and my lantana plants are about 3 years old. They have done exceedingly well until this spring. The leaves have developed brown, rust colored spots and the leaves are dying--even on the new growth. I have trimmed it back twice, first thinking it was due to a freeze, but now I can't figure it out. Is it a mold; insects; fungus? And if so, what do I use to revive them?

ANSWER:

The short answer is, we don't know what is afflicting your lantanas.  There is a rust fungus that infects Lantana spp, but so far as we know it does not occur in Texas.  Other possiblities are lacebugs, spidermites, aphids.  Another possibility is herbicide damage.  Sometimes desirable plants get damaged when weeds are being attacked with herbicides.

We recommend you take a plant sample - take an entire limb - to your county's Agricultural Extension Service office for analysis.  You'll probably want to call first to make an appointment.  If your county agent cannot diagnose the problem, he or she may advise you to send it to a lab for further analysis.  Once they determine the cause of the problem, they can recommend an appropriate course of action.

 

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