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
10 ratings

Wednesday - August 01, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests, Trees
Title: Sticky stuff dripping from non-native crape myrtle in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

There is sticky sap-like stuff dropping from the very large crepe myrtle in my yard. The tree has quit blooming. This didn't happen last year when it was so dry; it started after we had all the rain in July. I assume it's a fungus or aphid related somehow to the rain. My question is: should I be worried about the tree? Is there something I should be doing to treat it?

ANSWER:

This is a very common complaint this time of year, especially in Austin, and crape myrtles seem to be absolute magnets for aphids. Lagerstroemia indica (crape myrtle) is native to China and therefore not in Mr. Smarty Plants' realm of expertise nor our Native Plant Database. Here is a previous answer on this subject. Avoid herbicides, as they will kill beneficial insects that help control the aphids, but not disturb the aphid eggs that will soon hatch into more aphids. A spray of soapy water will help to wash off aphids and eggs.

 

More Pests Questions

Something eating Monarda didyma in Washington DC
June 30, 2011 - Please Help, I have a couple of Bee Balm, Jacob Cline, plants, whose leave are being eaten, by what I do not know. None of the nurseries around here seem to have ever heard of this happening to this p...
view the full question and answer

Problem with Eupatorium greggii
April 27, 2008 - At the Garden's fall plant sale in 2006, I bought some Eupatorium greggii. It did very well last year. Recently, the entire plant looks like it is just wilting from the top down, as if it has some so...
view the full question and answer

Bugs on yucca plant in New Jersey
August 06, 2008 - I noticed small bugs ALL OVER 4 established yucca plants all near each other. They may look like Halticotoma valida but I'm not positive. There is no brown on the leaves except for the large amount...
view the full question and answer

Purple sage with black residue on leaves in Georgetown TX
October 02, 2009 - I have 2 very healthy tx. purple sage that have developed a black residue on some leaves, and is a "sticky" substance..any ideas what this is and how to treat???
view the full question and answer

red maple bark damage by squirrels
April 15, 2011 - We have two acres of land, largely covered by various oaks and cherry laurels -and, after many hours of cutting down chinese tallow trees..finally some red maples. Our problem is that we also have a s...
view the full question and answer

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