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
1 rating

Friday - July 15, 2011

From: Abilene , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Watering, Trees
Title: Premature browning of bald cypress needles in summer
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I have several 10m high taxodium distichum trees in the lawn, with drip irrigation twice a week, and same soil content, and on just one of them, several leaves have started turning brown, it seems to be browning from the center of the tree outward(distally). I dont see evidence of insect damage, but I also am not entirely certain what to look for. Any suggestions??

ANSWER:

Taxodium distichum (Bald cypress) is a tree that benefits from deep watering.  If it does not get ample water in hot summers it will shut down many of its leaves, starting from the trunk-end of branches.  Mr. Smarty Plants has seen this occur on several occasions, sometimes on one tree but not on the adjacent one.  Green leaves remain on the branch tips if the drought is not too severe, and the tree will recover completely in the following spring.  However, this is not a healthy situation for the tree.  It seems that your drip irrigation is not allowing water to penetrate deeply enough in the soil to satisfy the tree's needs.  It is recommended that deep watering be employed to supplement rainfall in periods of extended drought.  I believe that if you water the area under all the trees out to the drip line for 30 min. or so every two weeks the trees will survive without permanent damage.

 

From the Image Gallery


Bald cypress
Taxodium distichum

Bald cypress
Taxodium distichum

Bald cypress
Taxodium distichum

More Watering Questions

Suggestions for flowerbed in Mesquite TX
June 17, 2011 - I live in Mesquite and am new to the area. I am trying to make the flowerbed in the front of my house look better. I've planted some yellow roses and red roses but would like some perennial that bloo...
view the full question and answer

Dry browning leaves on Monterrey Oak from San Antonio
August 08, 2013 - I have a Monterey Oak that was planted four years ago and was doing great until the last two weeks. It has turned brown and the ends of the branches are very dry and brittle. The root flare was cov...
view the full question and answer

Should I acidify my well water for native plants
July 15, 2008 - Should I acidify my well water for irrigation of native plants? There is not enough rainwater collection.
view the full question and answer

Irrigation of landscaping project after 1 year in San Antonio
November 10, 2010 - Hello, I am working on a project in San Antonio where the following vegetation types have been specified: cedar elm, bald cypress, 'Tifway 419' bermuda grass, mountain laurel, esperanza, and lantana...
view the full question and answer

Effect of epsom salts and gray water on plants
December 04, 2007 - We live in Phoenix where water is a precious commodity. We have decided to use as much of the gray water as we can for watering our garden, shrubs and trees. One of the suggestions we heard about w...
view the full question and answer

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