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
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

Worms in non-native snake plant from Hillsborough NC
September 17, 2011 - I purchased a snake plant this summer for my screened in porch. I did not repot it and left it in the plastic pot in came it. I was about to repot the plant to bring it in and noticed there are worm...
view the full question and answer

Waxy deposits on Magnolia fuscata from Ethel LA
June 18, 2013 - I have a 4yr old Magnolia Fascata (aka banana shrub)- I noticed that it has small oval shaped yellow waxy deposits on the branches.. I have also noticed small black ants on the branches. The unknown d...
view the full question and answer

Varmints disturbing plants in NH
August 04, 2011 - I planted herbs and perennials, then put paper down and bark. At first an animal just disturbed the paper around the plants, exposing it. Today two plants are dug up and are completely gone. No sig...
view the full question and answer

Georgia Monocots for Dodder Infested Location
September 02, 2015 - I have a 12'x12' area where we planted carrots, and we got a surprise - dodder! Next year we planted corn - no dodder! This year we planted cosmos, and behold, we had dodder. I understand monocot...
view the full question and answer

How to Control White Fungus on Prickly Pear Cactus?
July 04, 2013 - Is there any kind of spray for our prickly pear that will help with the white fungus that has appeared on it?
view the full question and answer

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