Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Wednesday - November 14, 2007

From: Kansas City, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Growth on trunk of Eastern Redbud
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My seven yr. old Eastern Redbud has a large patch (12x4inches) of white grey, shell or mushroom-like growth on the trunk. The bark has a wide split so the growth is on the layer of wood inside the split. What is this growth and what should I do about it? The tree is otherwise healthy - and crazily enough has a few blooms on two of the branches.

ANSWER:

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud) is a native of North America and is found naturally in Kansas, so we can't blame this problem on the tree being a non-native. It does appear that your tree is a victim of the fungus Botryosphaeria which can cause cankers on branches and stems of trees and shrubs with low vitality. The redbud naturally has "growth cracks" in its structure. When the plant has been weakened by possibly bad environmental problems, such as winter damage, prolonged dry periods, root problems and physical wounds, plants can be weakened and that facilitates opportunistic infections by the canker. Please check this University of Massachusetts Extension website to see the pictures and descriptions of infected trees, to determine if the problem is the same.

Some of the management strategies suggested in this article include intervening to minimize environmental and cultural stress on the trees. A tree with good vitality will respond on its own to inhibit the spread of the fungus. Water the tree when it is dry, fertilize, maintain a good compost layer over the root zone, and avoid damage to the tree. Remove the infected branches when the weather is too cold and dry for the fungus to infect the pruning wounds, and dispose of the infected branches away from the trees.

 


Cercis canadensis

 

 

More Trees Questions

Tree for a Missouri yard
March 10, 2012 - Our front yard tree died. We have landscaping that needs shade. We are in Zone 5, looking for a fast/medium growing shade tree that does not produce anything that falls into the grass and will allow t...
view the full question and answer

Trees to plant around horse corrals
September 07, 2010 - I would like to know what types of trees would be good to plant around my horse corrals.
view the full question and answer

Bark flaking off oaks in New Braunfels, TX
April 12, 2010 - We have several large clusters of oak trees. Some of the trees are losing their bark. The bark is flaking off in fairly large pieces; even on some of the trees that are leafing out. Is this a result o...
view the full question and answer

Effect of pecan trees on pool deck from Clovis CA
February 14, 2013 - I have pecan trees next to our pool deck. Are pecan trees invasive, will they lift up our pool deck?
view the full question and answer

Problems with live oak in Carrollton TX
April 03, 2011 - This past winter was very hard on all the trees in our area in Texas, but added to our stress was the loss of three large Bradford pears just prior to the winter (23yrs old and over 50ft spans of limb...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.