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

Sunday - July 10, 2011

From: Cumbola, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives, Diseases and Disorders, Transplants
Title: Leaves browning on non-native willow from in Cumbla PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We recently planted a willow tree. A lot of the leaves turned yellow and some turned brown, but it is also getting some new buds. my question is, should I take the dead leaves off or leave them there?

ANSWER:

How do we feel about the willow? Let us count the ways.  While there are some members of the Salix (willow) native to North America, landscape willows are most often either Salix matsudana (Globe Willow) or Salix x sepulcralis (Weeping Willow). We have been asked about both trees numerous times, and we can only remind you that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which those plants grow natively. Here are extracts from two of our many answers on questions regarding these trees:

Non-native to the United States, Salix x sepulcralis is a hybrid of a Chinese species (Peking willow) and a European species (white willow), and is said to grow in Zones 5 to 8 in the United States. It is weak-wooded, fast-growing and, therefore, short-lived. It has aggressive roots, can lift sidewalks and interfere with sewer lines, often growing on soil surfaces, making a problem with mowing. It is susceptible to a number of pests and diseases, and notorious for littering the ground beneath it. You might check out this University of Florida Extension website on Weeping Willows for more information as well as this Q&A from North Dakota State University Extension on weeping willows.

Salix matsudana, Globe Willow, is a native of eastern Asia. Willows generally are fairly weak, short-lived trees, susceptible to many insects and diseases, as well as dropping a lot of litter. The globe willow is often infected with slime flux, a bacterial disease that is soil-borne.

To answer your question, you say you have recently planted your willow. The best probability is that it is suffering from transplant shock. It may have been planted in weather too hot or too cold for the exposed roots, damaged in transportation, or in the wrong soils for it. If it is putting on new buds, we would say just let the browning leaves drop off on their own.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native mimosa as deer food in Colerain, NC
June 20, 2009 - I was wondering if deer eat any part of the mimosa tree? I have three good sized trees in my yard with seedlings popping up everywhere. Would it be profitable to transplant for deer habitat?
view the full question and answer

Nativity of various bulbs
October 15, 2014 - Are the following bulbs native? Chionodoxa forbesii Camassia leichflinii Crocus Sprint tommasinianus Barr's Purple Hyacinthoides hispanica Narcissus 'Actea' Scilla siberica 'Spring Beauty' ...
view the full question and answer

Lawn Maintenance in Colorado
March 20, 2010 - When do I begin to fertilize and water my grass in Colorado Springs? I am selling my house and want my lawn to look green?
view the full question and answer

Difference beteen two non-native photinias from Nashville TN
June 07, 2013 - What is the difference between red tip phontinias and fireball phontinias. I read that fireballs are also called red tips but I thought that red tips grow to like 12 ft. and the tag on the fireball I...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistance of non-native Leyland Cypress from Kerrville TX
April 19, 2014 - Are Leyland cypress deer resistant?
view the full question and answer

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