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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 - February 26, 2010

From: Lincoln, NE
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Scale on non-native Loropetalum in Lincoln, NE
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi,I have found lots of scale insects on my Loropetalum (esp the young leaves) and ended up spraying some white oil to get rid of them. Unfortunately, I might have overdone it and the young shoots are all dead and my entire tree is turning brown. The leaves are withering. Is it dying? How should I "revive" my poor tree?

ANSWER:

Lorapetalum chinense, sometimes called "Fringe Flower," is native to China and Japan and therefore out of our range of expertise, since the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Nativity to an area may be a first clue to what has happened to your plant. Loropetalum is mostly grown in the Southeastern United States, hardy in Zones 7 to 10. Lancaster County, NE appears to be in USDA Hardiness Zone 4b to 5b, with average annual minimum temperatures ranging from -30 to -10F. Your plant may have simply frozen to death, other pests aside. Since we have no idea what the "white oil" you sprayed with is, we can't say if that contributed to the problem.

To learn more about your plant, go to About.com Landscaping Loropetalum plant. For help in controlling scale on your plants, read this University of Illinois Extension Time to Control Scale Insects.

 

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