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

Saturday - July 16, 2011

From: Lebo, KS
Region: Midwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Seasonal Tasks, Transplants, Trees
Title: Leaves on 3 year old maple turning brown in Lebo, KS.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Hello, one of our five Maple trees which is is 3 yrs. old now, we saw a week ago that the leaves started turning brown and dropping. My question is: Will the tree survive this and return healthy next spring? We have been watering it since this happened, e/o day. Thank you!

ANSWER:

Some thoughts that race through Mr. Smarty Plants’ head: What has changed recently in the plant’s world? (watering, fertilizing, insect attack.....?) Have all of the leaves dropped? Is the plant alive? What about the other four maples?

This may sound strange, but even after three years, your plant may be experiencing transplant shock. Being transplanted is is a stressful experience for a plant, and in some cases it can take up to five years before the situation stabilizes. This  can vary depending on the type of plant, soil conditions, amount of moisture, and other environmental factors. Right now in Texas, we are having a drought.

I’m going to refer you to some web sites that deal with tree planting, transplant shock in trees, and watering tips (you should reduce the watering to only once a week at most).

Tree planting

Transplant shock

   north scaping.com

   gardeningknowhow.com

Watering tips

To determine if your plant is living, you can do the “thumbnail test”. Take a small upper branch and scrape of some of the outer bark with your thumbnail. You are  looking for green (living) tissue. If you find none, move down the stem a little bit and try again. Continue down the stem until you find green tissue; if none is found, I'm afraid that your tree isn’t alive.

 

More Trees Questions

Care of Styphnolobium affine, Eves necklace
October 05, 2007 - I have an 18 yr old Eve's Necklace tree that is dying from the "bottom up". It has only a few leaves at the very top of the tree. I have, connected to the gutter, a rain barrel from which the exc...
view the full question and answer

Yard Trees for Burleson, TX
July 24, 2011 - We need to replace 2 mature pear trees in our front yard, north side of the house in Burleson, TX. We are looking for faster growing trees that will last for decades that resist disease in clay soil....
view the full question and answer

Can the non-native ylang ylang tree grow outdoors in Arizona
July 14, 2015 - Can the ylang ylang tree grow outdoors in Casa Grande, Arizona?
view the full question and answer

pruning crape myrtle (ugh, non-native)
March 05, 2012 - We would like to plant a Dynamite Crape myrtle in front of our front window. They grow 20' to 30'. Can I trim it each year to about 15' to 20'? Should we plant it approximately 5 feet from the ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native avocado trees in Rio Grande Valley from Austin
January 05, 2013 - I just read the article in the Austin American Statesman about growing avocados outdoors. Don't know if they grow here, but they certainly don't just grow in south Florida. I used to live in Wesla...
view the full question and answer

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