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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Saturday - July 14, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Transplants, Trees
Title: Suffering Yaupon in Austin
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

I am in the Austin area and I planted a Pride of Houston Yaupon in my back yard in March. It is in full sun. Lately the leaves have been turning pale green and now they fall off the tree upon touching. Today I noticed on the still green leaves on the tree that they were turning pale green at the tip with a dark brown/black line moving to the base of the leaf. What could be causing this? Is the tree going to die? Thank you

ANSWER:

It's always hard to know why a plant isn't doing well, especially without seeing it, but the most likely explanation is that your Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon) is suffering from transplant shock. Even under the best circumstances a plant will suffer some degree of setback when it is transplanted. When the transplant is done in the spring, the shock is exacerbated by the stress of hot weather soon after being planted. This is why Mr. Smarty Plants always recommends planting trees and shrubs in the fall.

At this point, about all you can do is make sure it is getting enough water. A yaupon doesn't require much water after it is established, but it will need some extra water to get established. Be careful not to over water though, yaupons don't like wet feet. A layer of mulch arond the base will help.

Mr. Smarty Plants can't tell you if your plant is going to die or not, but you will probably know the answer by this fall which will be a good time to plant a replacement if it doesn't make it.

Here area couple of how-to articles that might help you out if you have to replant:

Caring for Your New Native Plants

Under Cover With Mulch

 

From the Image Gallery


Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

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