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

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

Is it OK to remove soil around oaks - Austin, TX.
May 24, 2013 - I have several oaks trees (one live oak + burr oaks) from 15'-35' in height. They seem healthy. A local arborist says they were planted too deep and that the soil around them needs to be excavated t...
view the full question and answer

I need a tall tree with kind roots for a narrow space
March 11, 2009 - We have a space in the yard where a building is within 3 to 6 feet of where we would like a tall tree. What tree could achieve two stories in height, while not messing with the foundation of the bu...
view the full question and answer

Problems with mature cottonwood in Justin TX
September 17, 2012 - I have a very large, 90" circumference, approx 60' tall, cottonwood tree in my front yard that appears to be sick. The trunk splits at about the 4' level into 2 parts. at that split is a 10" wide...
view the full question and answer

Inadvisability of mounding earth around tree in ring
April 20, 2006 - We have a mimosa tree in our backyard. My husband wants to build a tree ring around it. My mother told me that some trees will die from having soil built up around it like that. Will a tree ring ki...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for plants for a privacy screen in Long Beach, NY.
August 10, 2011 - I have recently added 1500sq.ft. to my backyard. My backyard faces a busy road. I would like to place native trees and bushes along the fence for added privacy, shade and to protect my house from the...
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