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 - 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.


Cercis canadensis

Cercis canadensis
 

More Trees Questions

Native Shrubs to Plant with Viburnum in New Jersey
February 11, 2014 - Please provide me with a list of native shrubs, plants etc. for New Jersey that would work with my existing native viburnum.
view the full question and answer

Bark problems with Monterrey oak from Austin
September 15, 2012 - I planted a 65 gallon Monterrey Oak (White Oak) in my front yard in February of this year. I water it once a week. All of the leaves and branches appear very healthy and there is no discoloration....
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a magnolia tree in Avon IN
July 04, 2009 - We moved in our house a couple of years ago,We have a small Magnolia tree, well, looks like a bush right in front of our porch. We want to move it but do not know the best time to move. Can you tell m...
view the full question and answer

Edible forest garden for northern Minnesota
March 07, 2014 - I am planning an edible forest garden for northern Minnesota. Can you suggest a list of plants that are native to this area. We are in zone 3a or 3b. Thank you!
view the full question and answer

How to tell the girls from the boys in wax myrtles (Morella cerifera)
May 14, 2010 - How would I be able to identify whether my wax myrtles are male or female plants? I was given two plants last fall (that came from a family members back yard) and the person who gave them to me didn'...
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