Rent Shop 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

Monday - April 30, 2012

From: Bandera, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Shrubs
Title: Mountain laurels with insect problems in Bandera, TX..
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have 3 mountain laurels about 8 yrs old. Suddenly about 3 yrs ago worms started decimating them. This yr I got dipel dust which works great but only for two weeks. I now have small red flies and tents on the plants. I don't want to dig them out and burn them; what next. I could see them arrive [worms ] from the next property by strings. No one lives next door and it has been derelect for yrs. Help!~!!

ANSWER:

Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) is a beautiful hill country native , and should be right at home in Bandera County. It is frequently touted as not having serious disease and pest problems. Well you probably feel that isn’t true.

The worms that you mention are probably the larval form of the Genista moth, and are sometimes called Sophora worms. This web site describes their life cycle and gives tips for getting rid of them. This guide from the Desert Botanical Garden ( Phoenix, AZ ) also has helpful information.

For the other conditions that you describe, it would be more helpful to have someone who can actually look at your trees and make an assessment. You should be able to find such a person at the Bandera County Office of Texas AgriLife Extension.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Pests Questions

Problems with Monterrey Oak in Austin
March 26, 2013 - We had a local tree service plant two Monterrey Oak trees on 4/2/2012. At the time we noticed that woodpeckers had had a field day on the trunk bark of both trees with the most damage being on the lar...
view the full question and answer

Keeping bugs out of a Texas home
June 29, 2015 - I'm slowly growing my gardens into natural habitats for birds, bees, butterflies and other little critters but would like to keep them outside of my house. Being in central Texas it is difficult to ...
view the full question and answer

Box elder beetles in Austin TX
February 02, 2012 - We have an large infestation of box elder beetles. They are crawling all over the yard and sometimes on the outside of the house. When you walk in the yard a cloud of them rises up and fills the air. ...
view the full question and answer

Possible leaf cutter ants in Elgin, TX
December 08, 2014 - I've planted many beautiful native vines and flowering plants this fall. However, in the past week I've noticed something has been eating these plants, including coral honeysuckle vine, salvia, and ...
view the full question and answer

What is hollowing out my rosebuds in Austin, TX?
April 28, 2012 - I recently noticed some of my rose buds had been hollowed out from the inside. I have seen no evidence of insect though. What do you think it is and how can I treat the problem?
view the full question and answer

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