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

Tree (evergreen) to grow in area with high water table
March 27, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We live in central Austin, Tarrytown specifically, just blocks from the aptly named Spring Lane. (sometimes we hit water in our back yard within 2 feet of the surface.) We los...
view the full question and answer

What plants grow well in Athens, TX?
January 18, 2011 - Athens, Texas, we have very sandy soil mixed with clay, what plants grow well here?
view the full question and answer

Leaf Galls on Live Oak
March 20, 2012 - Hi - I have a live oak tree that always seems to have thinner foliage than our other two. Upon closer examination today I found small brown balls all over the mature leaves. The balls look and feel ve...
view the full question and answer

Tree that will not interfere with hardscape in San Diego
February 07, 2009 - I am looking for a small tap root tree that will reach max height of 20-25 ft. The area is only about 4 to 6 ft. to the house slab or driveway which I need to be very careful so it doesn't crack the...
view the full question and answer

Spots on non-native naval orange trees from Stockton CA
October 20, 2012 - I have two mature Navel Orange trees. One tree has developed spotty chlorophyl depleted areas that were not on the oranges when they were smaller. In addition, the oranges on both trees are smaller ,...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center