Contact Us Host an Event 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 - February 22, 2010

From: Everett, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Watering, Shrubs
Title: Why are the leaves on my Laurel hedge turning brown in Everett, WA?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Our laurel hedge seems to have brown leaves on the top of the bush. We haven't had a freezing winter so we are trying to figure out why some of the leaves are brown.

ANSWER:

Laurel is commonly used as a common name, so Mr. Smarty Plants is just guessing that your hedge may be English Laurel, also known as Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus). It is a popular specimen shrub in the northwest  US, but is a native of Southeast Europe and Southwest Asia. Since the focus of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is the care, protection, and propagation  of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown, this plant lies outside the area of our expertise.

You mentioned that you didn't experience freezing temperatures, but browning leaves can be a symptom of other plant problems.

The questions you should ask are: has this happened before?, and what is different this year from last year? Browning can result from under or over-watering. Click here for information about watering plants.

For information closer to home, you might contact the folks at the Snohomish County office of Washington State University Extension Service.

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Insects in non-native weeping willow
September 17, 2008 - My weeping willow is dropping small black insects. Thousands of 1/16" cover the ground etc. Insects stain a raspberry, purple color when smashed. Insects are very soft.Insects present about 3 weeks...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping in Avalon TX
January 23, 2013 - I just bought my first and last home in Avalon Texas. I am looking forward to starting my garden. I am interested in all year around flowers. however I am in the country, when it rains, my yard becom...
view the full question and answer

Pruning of overgrown non-native boxwood from Round Rock TX
February 19, 2011 - We have several large over-grown Japanese Boxwoods that we'd really like to trim down in height about 10 to 12 inches, however most of the middle and lower sections of the bushes are bare or very spa...
view the full question and answer

Growing Giant Pumpkins in Georgia
April 15, 2013 - I have tried to grow giant pumpkins in the Atlanta, GA area. Each year I lose several strong plants to vine borers. I have tried tin foil wrapped around the stems, and I even painted the stems with Se...
view the full question and answer

Could ammonia harm poisonous, non-native oleander in Bay Point CA
December 20, 2009 - Could ammonia harm my Oleander plant? I have been spraying ammonia under it to keep neighborhood cats from using the soil under the plant as a sand box. If so, do you have any suggestions as to what...
view the full question and answer

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