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
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. 


Cercis canadensis

Cercis canadensis

Cercis canadensis

Cercis canadensis

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Hill Country natives for a hedge
June 01, 2006 - Can you recommend a "hedge type" bush to use in lieu of a fence along the road in the San Antonio region? My whole back yard is planted with Hill Country natives and I would prefer to keep the the...
view the full question and answer

Dealing with live oak suckers in Central Texas
March 05, 2015 - Hi, I have a couple huge Live Oak trees in my back yard. Trunks are 4' in diameter. These Live Oaks produce a lot of root sprouts/suckers. I had always head that a tree's roots feed on water/oxyg...
view the full question and answer

Growing a Swamp Oak from Seed
July 02, 2014 - I have a swamp oak that I started from an acorn. Someone at a nursery stated that after 4 years I should cut it off at ground level and then allow one of the suckers to grow while keep removing the ot...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Saucer Magnolia in Eatontown, NJ.
January 12, 2013 - Adult Saucer Magnolia (tulip tree). Branches were getting heavy to where they were ready to break. I pruned them back leaving 1 to 3 inch diameter cuts on many branches. Should I put something on th...
view the full question and answer

Time to trim oak trees in Austin
October 29, 2011 - We have several large oak trees in desperate need of a good trimming. Given that the trees have had a very stressful drought year, when would be the best time to trim them?
view the full question and answer

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