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

Tuesday - May 26, 2009

From: Dearborn, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Failure to thrive of Eastern Redbud in Dearborn, MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Our Eastern Redbud, multi-stem tree has done well for several years. This year the pods did not fall off, the tree looks anemic, lots of dead stems, no pink blooms this spring. What can we do??

ANSWER:

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud) is native to Michigan and, indeed, is found growing in and around Wayne County. In Southeastern Michigan you are in USDA Hardiness Zones 5b (average annual minimum temperature of -20 to -15) to Zone 6a (-10 to -5). However, we are aware that Michigan had a really bad winter, lots of cold, lots of snow, wind, ice, all of which could have contributed to your tree's problems.

This Ohio State University website Cercis canadensis will give you several possible answers to your question, but maybe no solutions. From this site, we got this list of liabilities for the tree:

  • often has a functional life of 10 to 20 years in urban landscapes due to a combination of urban stresses, diseases, and pests
  • prone to trunk canker, heartwood rot, Verticillium wilt, and scales, the first three of which can be slowly fatal
  • often leans with age
  • somewhat prone to storm damage with advanced age (due to leaning and heartwood rot)

We are going to offer you several websites on the various possibilities, so you can try to discover what the problem is. 

Canker Diseases of Trees from Kansas State University Cooperative Extension

Heartwood Rot of Trees from Iowa State University

Verticillium Wilt from the University of Illinois Extension

If you are really determined to save your tree, you can contact the Michigan State University Extension Office for Wayne County; possibly they can make suggestions for treatment or recommend a licensed arborist who will come to the site to diagnose and hopefully treat the problem. 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Flaming sumacs in trouble in Wimberley TX
August 31, 2010 - I planted three flaming sumacs last fall and all leafed out this spring. Then, early this month all the leaves turned brown on one and it appears to have died. Today I noticed that a second one is d...
view the full question and answer

Wilting American Smoke Tree in Texas
April 21, 2013 - I planted a young American smoke tree last fall (mid-November) and it put out a good show of tentative new leaves this spring. Then to keep the tree form I clipped some little shrubby start ups at the...
view the full question and answer

Native specimen tree for Houston, Texas
September 23, 2009 - Looking for recommendations for a specimen tree to flank our front steps. Evergreen, 15 feet tall, maybe 10 feet wide. Will be near icee blue Japanese yews and nearly wild rose bushes. Ideas?
view the full question and answer

Tree roots breaking surface in Allen, TX
March 09, 2009 - I live in Northern Texas, near Dallas. My questions concerns a tree in my front yard that now has roots that break the surface of the soil and grass. I would like to cover the roots. Should I cover...
view the full question and answer

A tree for fall color in VA
September 05, 2011 - I need a small to medium-sized tree for enclosure/privacy screening. I'm looking for a fast-growing, deciduous tap-rooted tree for a lawn area about 30-40' away from an existing mature Linden, and ...
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.