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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - June 03, 2011

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Transplants, Trees
Title: Transplant shock in Mountain Laurel in San Antonio, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I planted a 2 ft. tall Texas mountain laurel a month ago. Some of the leaves have turned very yellow and some of them are falling off. The plant doesn't look real healthy in general. I did add some crushed granite, just a little turkey and molasses compost and a few watersorb crystals to the soil before planting. Maybe I shouldn't have added anything. I water deeply about twice a week. Any idea why this plant has yellowing leaves? The leaves of my Carolina jessamine are also turning yellow and some shoots have died. One plant completely died and I replaced it. (I have 3) They were planted in late February (3 months ago). Also an established Cenizo has yellowing leaves as well. I have also had trouble with these plants getting a small black bug on the leaves which in turn kill the branches. I have many any other plants that are doing well so I don't think its a soil problem. Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks that transplant shock and overwatering are probably at the root of your problems. I’m going to provide  you with several links that have information starting with planting techniques, transplant shock  (also see), and ideas about proper watering.

Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) is a drought tolerant evergreen which prefers rocky limestone soil that is well drained. Twice a week waterings probably keep the roots too wet, and the addition of watersorb only exacerbates the problem. The Cenizo Leucophyllum candidum (Brewster county barometerbush) also prefers dry conditions. The Carolina Jessamine Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine) prefers moist conditions, but could be experiencing transplant shock. One of the things that people tend to do with new plants is to overwater them.

There are a lot of diferent kinds of small black bugs, so that description isn't very helpful. Here is a link to a previous question regarding small black bugs that might prove useful. One of the culprits they mention is fungus gnats

 

 

More Trees Questions

Plants for full-sun landscape
November 20, 2007 - I live in a very rocky area just outside of Fort Worth, TX. It's taken me all spring, summer & now I'm going into the fall, to landscape just 30 feet in front of my house. The front of the house get...
view the full question and answer

Is sulfurous well water affecting leaves on trees in Belton TX
November 07, 2011 - We installed an irrigation system for our buffalo grass lawn last spring. The grass is fine but the leaves on the trees are burned where the water hits them. I suspect that the well we are using fo...
view the full question and answer

Blackening of top growth of yaupon in Sunrise Beach TX
June 09, 2010 - My question regards a Will Flemming yaupon which I am thinking may be within your scope of expertise. These were recently planted under windy conditions, then hit with a neighbors antiquated jet type ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of spiky red berry in Connecticut
September 25, 2011 - I found an odd berry outside of my school, none of the science teachers know what it is though. It kind of looks like a spiked cherry. It has spikes on the outside, a pit on the insde, and has pinkish...
view the full question and answer

Pin Oak Dropping Leaves Early
December 17, 2015 - I have a large pin oak that's losing it's leaves at this time. Is this too early? I have been watering the tree during the hot, dry weather and overall the tree looks healthy and has a good crop of ...
view the full question and answer

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