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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - October 05, 2007

From: Taylor, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Transplants, Trees
Title: Care of Styphnolobium affine, Eves necklace
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have an 18 yr old Eve's Necklace tree that is dying from the "bottom up". It has only a few leaves at the very top of the tree. I have, connected to the gutter, a rain barrel from which the excess water drains into the area around this tree. My concern is that the roots may have gotten too wet during our atypical monsoon this year. Is there anything I can do to save this tree? Thank you.

ANSWER:

It is very likely that the reason your Styphnolobium affine (Eve's necklacepod) (synonym = Sophora affinis) is dying is because of the excess water from the rain barrel overflow. As you can see from the Native Plant Database it needs well-drained soil. If you can find a way to change the direction of the rain barrel overflow so that the soil can dry out, you might have a chance of saving your tree still.

If you can't successfully eliminate the extra water flowing into the area of your tree, your best bet may be to move the tree. An 18-year-old tree is not going to be easy to move. Indeed, the shock of doing so could finish it off. However, if you should decide to do this you might like to read "Successfully Transplanting Established Trees" from the Agricultural Extension Service of the University of Tennessee.

Jill Noke's in "How to Grow Native Plants of Texas the Southwest" (2001. Austin: University of Texas Press) says:

"Eve's Necklace, S. affinis, is easiest to transplant in the winter because it often grows in deeper soil and is deciduous. When transplanting, obtain as large a root ball as possible. The plant should be cut back severely and kept well watered in a shady location."

 

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