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

Allelopathy of American elms from Dallas
March 24, 2013 - Are American elms at all allelopathic?
view the full question and answer

Bald cypress with chlorosis in Texas
June 15, 2009 - I have a 6' tall Bald Cypress planted 2 years ago which just this year appears to be suffering from chlorosis. The tree was bought from a chain store. It receives some drainage water from my washin...
view the full question and answer

Native maples for the Austin, TX area
May 21, 2005 - I am new to the state of Texas. I lived in Canada all of my life and miss my maple trees. Are maple trees (green or red leafed varieties) able to thrive in Austin?
view the full question and answer

Why are the eastern red cedars in Bastrop/Travis County turning brown?
May 11, 2009 - I live on the Bastrop/Travis county, TX line and have many eastern red cedars on my property. About 10 of them are dying and it has happened quickly with the onset of the warmer weather. I noticed d...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Texas Mountain Laurel in Dallas
May 04, 2010 - I have a Texas Mountain Laurel that is about 3 years old. When I bought it 2 summers ago, it was about a foot high. Now it is over 6 feet. It seems to have grown so fast that the branches can't ke...
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