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

Saturday - September 12, 2009

From: Lago Vista, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Stressed Texas persimmon, Diospyros texana
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I planted a 5' Texas Persimmon last May..it is watered by drip irrigation and has done well, putting on lots of new leaves and looking healthy as can be. That is, until several days ago when it began to look stressed. Now the underside of the each leaf is covered with small black dots, smaller than the head of a pin. These black dots are also on the limbs. On close inspection, there are many nearly transparent insects on the underside of leaves also. The insects are anywhere from a millimeter to nearly 2 millimeters long and they're difficult to identify since they are nearly clear. Poor persimmon tree! What are these clear bugs, what are the black dots, and what can I do to help get the tree back to good health?

ANSWER:

The transparent insects sound like aphids.  Even though Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon) is touted as been relatively disease and pest free, aphids can infest almost any plant.  The black spots may be the beginning of sooty mold fungus that grows on the sticky, sweet "honeydew" produced and deposited on the leaves by the aphids.  The Texas Agricultural Extension Service article, "Aphids in Texas Landscapes", has a number of suggestions for controlling these pests including biological control methods (lady beetles and greenlacewings), mechanical means (high pressure water spraying) and pesticides (insecticidal soaps and oils).  You can see photos and information about various aphids in A Field Guide to Common Insects on the Travis County Extension Service page.

Eriophyid mites are another possibility. The are extremely tiny and cause galls to form on leaves.  There is one of the mites, Aceria theospyri, that is specific to Diospyros sp., but others could potentially cause problems.  Treatments with insecticidal soaps and oils are recommended for these. (Notice the galls on the leaves in the photographs below.)

An article by Quintin Lee Holdeman (Persimmons for Louisiana's Children—Young and Old) has a section describing other pests and diseases of persimmons (Diospyros sp.).  One of the pests, Persimmon Psylla nymphs (Trioza diospyri), feeds exclusively on persimmon species but its description doesn't really match yours.

Good luck!  I hope your persimmon survives and thrives!


Diospyros texana

Diospyros texana

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Trimming oak threatening fence in California
July 21, 2008 - I live in Diamond Springs,California,I have a large oak tree growing between my neighbors' house and mine. A large branch is cracked and in danger of falling on my fence,I would like to lighten it up...
view the full question and answer

Non-native crape myrtle resistance to deer from Annapolis MD
April 06, 2013 - Is Crape Myrtle tree resistant to deers? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Dying leaves on Autumn Blaze Maple tree in Littleton, CO
May 25, 2012 - I have an autumn blaze maple where for the last two years the left side of the tree turns light green, then brown, and leaves die. The right side is dark green, normal. Is this a water over/under pr...
view the full question and answer

Tree (evergreen) to grow in area with high water table
March 27, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We live in central Austin, Tarrytown specifically, just blocks from the aptly named Spring Lane. (sometimes we hit water in our back yard within 2 feet of the surface.) We los...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a bald cypress from Houston
December 10, 2012 - We would like to transplant a bald cypress from front yard to back. It is about 10 ft tall, 3" trunk diameter, 2-1/2 years old and in good health. Any idea how large the root ball might need to be du...
view the full question and answer

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