En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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

Leaves on 3 year old maple turning brown in Lebo, KS.
July 16, 2011 - Hello, one of our five Maple trees which is is 3 yrs. old now, we saw a week ago that the leaves started turning brown and dropping. My question is: Will the tree survive this and return healthy next ...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting crabapples in NJ
October 25, 2010 - I purchased a mature Red Baron crabapple in march of this year from a reputable nursery here in southern NJ. The tree was in the ground when I first viewed it, and since it was march and hadn't bloom...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of pecan trees in Las Vegas NV
October 11, 2009 - In April this year I purchased two 8-foot tall pecan trees in 3-foot square boxes from a local nursery and planted them here in Southern Nevada. I'm sure I dug a large enough hole to provide plenty ...
view the full question and answer

Northern Catalpa Tree Doing Poorly
July 02, 2014 - One of our Northern Catalpa trees appears to be dying. It is about 28 feet tall and this year only about 1/3 of it is producing leaves. It is next to our largest Catalpa tree (about 65 feet tall and a...
view the full question and answer

Holes in leaves of wax myrtle from Austin
April 30, 2011 - I just purchased 4 of the 5 gallon Wax Myrtles at the last spring plant sale and after planting them, they are getting eaten by bugs leaving holes in the leaves. I can't find any of the bugs doing th...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center