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

Reducing Allergens in Yards and Gardens
January 31, 2012 - What are some allergen-free native plants to Central Texas that thrive in the soil and can survive in the weather?
view the full question and answer

Wax myrtles dying in Alexander City AL
October 26, 2010 - I have a difficult problem with my wax myrtle plants dying. I have 36 Wax Myrtle bushes, approximately 10 feet high and they are dying, one at a time. They look fine and then within a week the lea...
view the full question and answer

Plant Suggestions for a Partly Sunny Steep Bank in Illinois
November 09, 2013 - I am looking to plant something on a steep clay bank on our Illinois property. It is on the edge of our dirt road with trees above the bank and is partly sunny. What would work best for that type of a...
view the full question and answer

Adjustments to soil level change around tree from Austin
May 29, 2014 - I am moving in to a new construction home in south Austin, builder has leveled the ground and sodded the front yard, I have a post oak in the front and because of the changes to the landscape the tree...
view the full question and answer

Eco-friendly trees for parks in Brownsville, TX
April 26, 2008 - Which are the best eco friendly trees for parks?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center