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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.

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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.

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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!

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Saturday - March 13, 2010

From: Polo, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Trouble with Redbud in Illinois
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I have a red bud bush, we live in northern Illinois, it is shedding its bark. Is this normal or is the bush dying?

ANSWER:

Unfortunately, without seeing the actual plant, we are unable to diagnose the problem, recommend a treatment or make a prediction of whether or not your plant is in trouble. However, in my personal experience with redbud, I have not seen one actually shedding bark like an oakleaf hydrangea or sycamore does.  I have seen a vertical split that heals, but no shedding.

You don't mention how old the plant is, what kiind of light and soil conditions it is planted in and when you first noticed the problem (after a very dry, hot spell or a particularly cold winter, etc.).  You refer to the plant as a redbud bush, but I assume that you have a multistemmed version of Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud)

If you click on the plant link above you will reach the information page of our database for redbud.  You will find information there about cultivation requirements and may be able to diagnose the problem. The information indicates that a redbud is an appropriate plant choice for your area.

Your local county cooperative extension service will be your best resource for solving this problem. Redbud is one of my favourite plants, so I wish you luck!


Cercis canadensis

 

 

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