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?


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

Saturday - August 09, 2014

From: Santa fe, NM
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Treating splits in a Cottonwood tree trunk
Answered by: Guy Thompson


How to treat slipts in trunk of 4 year old Cottonwood tree.


Having never seen a slipt in a Populus fremontii (Fremont cottonwood) trunk, I am betting that you meant "split" in the bark.  If so, you shouldn't worry too much if the splits are small.  This web site gives some suggestions as to how you can treat bark splits so as to minimize any damage.  At the age of 4 years, your tree may be simply forming the fissured bark that characterizes older cottonwoods.

If your problem is splits in the trunk wood itself this could be a more serious thing.  The most likely cause in Arizona would be sun scald.  Another web site offers suggestions for treating splits in living wood.  Such splits, if small, will probably heal on their own.

You are probably aware that cottonwoods require a lot of water.  Is it possible that you have not been giving your young tree enough?  Drought stress might be a cause of splitting.


More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Young Maple Dropping Leaves in Late Summer
September 05, 2013 - I have a 6-year-old maple tree. I'm not sure what type it is as the builder planted it. It is as tall as our two-story house and very healthy. It's the biggest tree in our neighborhood because we fe...
view the full question and answer

Leaf drop from maple tree in Minnesota
August 15, 2008 - I have about a 30 ft maple tree in my yard, last fall I trimmed it pretty good because the branches were getting low where you could not walk under it or get grass to grow. This is the 2nd time in abo...
view the full question and answer

Safe Concrete Planters For Plants?
February 24, 2015 - We are building low concrete walls around a patio (in Washington, DC). Can we create the walls to act as planters or will the lime leaching make the soil too inhospitable for most plants?
view the full question and answer

Problems with Cedar Elm in Austin, TX.
August 04, 2012 - Our Cedar Elm has yellowing very dry leaves and something is eating the topmost leaves leaving holes and obviously chewed off leaf segments. Could this be two different things? Aphids and bacteria or ...
view the full question and answer

Damage from feral hogs
September 30, 2009 - Hello. What extent of damage can be expected when planting wildflower seeds in an area regularly visited by feral hogs? In some cases do the hogs actually help plant the seed as they root around? ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center