Mysterious flowering plant is a glory bower
Q: I took a cutting of this plant from a neighbor's yard, and it is doing quite well, but I am not sure what it is. I love the big leaves and the bright flowers, but I've noticed that it's sending up new plants off the roots about 2 to 3 feet away from the bush. I just want to make sure it is not an invasive plant or one that is hard to control before it gets too big.
Gail Ramsdell, Safety Harbor
A: The plant in your photo is glory bower, Clerodendrum speciossisimum, and will travel by underground root suckers popping up around your yard, but those are easily pulled where they are not wanted, so I wouldn't consider them invasive. Butterflies love them because of their juicy nectar.
Turkey oaks are at the end of their life span
Q: We are losing our very large turkey foot oaks one by one that are in different places on our property. They are approximately 40 feet high, and I am sure they were already on the property when our development was built 25 years ago.
At springtime, they grow a beautiful canopy with new leaves. Then limb by limb the leaves start to turn brown, and eventually the whole tree dies. We have already lost four trees in the last three years.
Do you know what is happening? And can we do anything to save what trees we have left?
A: Turkey oak, Quercus laevis, has a short life span among the oaks, and at 40 feet, they are at the end of their life span. There are several disease symptoms explained in detail in the publication "Common Causes of Oak Mortality" at floridaforestservice.com/forest_management/fh_oak_mortality.html. You can match up symptoms to see what the culprit is, but the death certificate will read "old age."
Unfortunately, there are no preventive measures except to remove the trees as soon as the disease symptoms are noticed so that the infection is kept to a minimum.