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

Monday - September 07, 2009

From: Alburtis, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Trees
Title: Failure of smoke tree to bloom in Alburtis PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

For whatever reason, my smoke tree did not bloom during its second season. Any ideas?

ANSWER:

Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree) is native no farther north than Kentucky, and is hardy from USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 8.  There is another tree with the common name "smoketree," Cotinus coggygria (smoketree) which is native to Southern Europe, Central China and the Himalayas,  This USDA Plant Profile shows this tree growing in Pennsylvania and as far north as some provinces of Canada.  The expertise of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is limited to the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. 

To help you answer your own question, did this tree bloom previously, or are you saying you have had the tree two years and it hasn't bloomed yet. Many trees do not bloom until they have several years of maturity. Blooming takes a great deal of energy from the plant, and they need to devote that energy to leaves and roots the first few years. If it has bloomed previously for you, what has changed in the environment of the tree during the past year? Too much fertilizer, especially too much high nitrogen fertilizer like you put on lawns, will produce lush leaves and few or no blooms. Perhaps this website from Floridata, Cotinus coggygria, will give you the answers you need. 

 

More Trees Questions

A Native Tree for Ardmore PA
January 15, 2014 - I am looking to plant a native tree in my back yard. The yard is small and gets mostly afternoon sun. Thank you
view the full question and answer

Laurel oak tree not leafing out in Pasadena TX
April 13, 2010 - Hurricane Ike blew down our red bud in the backyard. Had a large 25' laurel oak planted early March 2010. When it was put in the ground, the leaves were on it, but they were all brown and dried. T...
view the full question and answer

Mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora) refuses to bloom
March 07, 2008 - We have a Texas Mountain Laurel that gets full sunlight, but does not bloom. It is 4-5 ft tall & 3-4 ft wide & healthy. Is there anything we can do to make it bloom next year?
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native citrus trees from Mesa AZ
January 13, 2014 - We have one valencia orange tree and one naval orange tree in our Mesa, AZ yard. Just noticed some oranges on both trees have a 1/4 inch diameter hole through the skin and the orange fruit and skin a...
view the full question and answer

Plants to filter dust from a road in MD
June 01, 2011 - I live in MD next to a dirt/gravel access road. I would like to plant something along my property line to block the clouds of dust we regularly get from cars and dirt bikes. Is there something fast ...
view the full question and answer

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