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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - June 12, 2014

From: Erie, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Trees
Title: Eastern Redbud Flowers and Leaves Dried Up
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have a young Eastern Redbud that started blooming last year. This year blossoms formed and leaves started to come, but now they are all dried up. What might have caused this?

ANSWER:

So sorry to hear that your Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) is not doing well. Something has stressed your young tree and the plant had just energy enough to send out new leaves and flowers this spring but this may have been the extent of the reserve that the plant has.

There are many situations that could cause the tree to start to show signs of flower and leaf damage. Perhaps the harsher, and more prolonged, winter that you had in Erie, PA damaged the tree. Other possible causes include salt spray damage, waterlogged soil in the spring causing damage to the roots (Cercis has to have well-drained soil), or verticillium wilt fungus disease plugging the vascular tissue of the tree. The tree isn't being attacked by an insect. The problem looks like it is either caused by a physiological (environmental) situation or from a pathogen such as fungus. 

Some detective work is needed to narrow down the cause of the damage. A careful investigation of the plant roots is a good way to see if there is damage present below ground. In addition, cut a twig to see if there is a dark ring or dark pin-point spots in the cross section which is a sign of verticillium wilt.  

The Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder has some good information about Eastern Redbud culture that might help you solve your mystery and help your tree.  In any event, your plant needs some extra care and attention to nurse it back to health.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

More Trees Questions

Transplanting non-native crape myrtle in Scottsdale AZ
May 11, 2014 - When is the best time to transplant dwarf crape myrtle in Scottsdale AZ?
view the full question and answer

Galls on live oak trees in Austin, TX
April 14, 2005 - I am a resident of a condominium complex in Austin that has numerous Live Oak trees. Can you explain what the gall type things are hanging from the trees at this time of year and all over the grounds?...
view the full question and answer

Is it normal for the bark to fall off an oak tree in Austin, TX
May 02, 2013 - Is it normal for live oak bark to fall off when touched? I am afraid to get near them?
view the full question and answer

Living fence of native plants for Ojai, CA
September 20, 2008 - I would like to build a "green fence" about 10-15 feet tall. I live in Ojai, CA where we have VERY hot summers and it goes below freezing every winter. The soil does not seem to drain well..it is e...
view the full question and answer

Planting live oak trees in summer in Austin
June 09, 2011 - We would like to plant a few live oak trees in our front yard for shade and animal protection. As it is very hot and dry right now, can we plant now? If not, when?
view the full question and answer

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