Explore Plants

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
    
 

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 - January 22, 2009

From: Flower Mound, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Brown circular ring in trimmed branches of redbud tree
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a redbud tree that was recently trimed back. When looking at the cross section of the branches, I noticed a brown circular ring. Is this a problem and if so what can I do to correct it?

ANSWER:

The dark ring you see is possibly the heartwood beginning to form in the branches of your Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud).  If you could see a cross section of the trunk of your tree, you would see that the center of it is a reddish-brown color, the inactive heartwood; whereas, the wood surrounding it, the sapwood, which actively transports water and nutrients (the sap), is yellowish tan.  You can read a good discussion on the difference between sapwood and heartwood at Northern Woodlands.org.  Twigs and younger branches contain only sapwood; but as the branches grow in diameter, the lighter sapwood is transformed into the darker heartwood towards the center of the branch.  The heartwood provides structural support.  So, it is possible that the forming heartwood is the dark ring you see in your cut branches.  Click here to see the wood of several species of Cercis.

You can read about a variety of damaging agents to the redbud and it is possible that your dark ring is an indication of some fungal disease or insect damage. If your redbud shows other symptoms (e.g., fungal growths on the trunk) that give you concern, it would be a good idea to consult your Denton County Texas AgriLife Extension Service agent and/or a certified arborist who can look at your tree and diagnosis the problem and possible ways to treat it.

 

More Trees Questions

Drought affecting native trees from The Woodlands
August 18, 2011 - I've been trying to grow native trees in my yard for the past 3 years and I'm starting to question whether the amount of time required to spend watering them during the long hot season in Texas is r...
view the full question and answer

Low maintenance replacement garden in Ashburn , VA
April 30, 2009 - We live in Ashburn, VA (Northern VA). Our house is 10 years old and the contractor grade plants have died. We are planning on digging everything up and re-doing the landscaping in our front yard - r...
view the full question and answer

Pecan leaves falling of the trees in Austin, TX.
August 08, 2012 - Why are the pecan tree leaves turning black, sappy and falling off the trees, in great quantities? This has happened since the recent rains, all through the Allandale area.
view the full question and answer

Will Cedar Elm seedlings resprout from the root?
November 20, 2009 - I have a number of cedar elm saplings coming up in a garden bed which I am planning on replanting. It is very difficult to remove the entire taproot below about 1.5 feet as I encounter rocks and heavy...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen oak in Washington
February 17, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in the Pacific Northwest and noticed an oak tree growing near the road that was evergreen (unusual for here). I was so curious that that last time that I passed the tree,...
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.