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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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Sunday - April 11, 2010

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Planting, Transplants, Trees
Title: Why isn't my recently planted Mexican Redbud growing in Georgetown, TX?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I planted a container-grown Mexican Redbud in early March. As of April 5th, it is showing no signs of buds or leaves. Other redbuds in the area (possibly Texas redbuds) have been blooming for several weeks. Is this species later blooming? Should I take it back to the nursery or wait a few more weeks?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks that your Mexican Redbud Cercis canadensis var. mexicana  is suffering from transplant shock. Speaking anthropomorphically, you and the tree are at cross-purposes; while you are anxiously awaiting buds and leaves, the tree is more concerned about establishing its root system so that it can support those buds and leaves. You can satisfy yourself that the plant is still alive by employing the thumb nail test; starting at the top of the tree, scratch a small area of the bark with your thumbnail to see if there is green tissue below the bark. If there isn't, move down the stem a little and try again. If you find no green tissue as you move down the stem, its time to go back to the nursery.

I've included two websites that thoroughly cover tree planting and transplant shock: one is from the University of Kentucky and the other is from treesaregood.org.

This may not be relevant, but if you compare the USDA's County Distribution maps for Mexican Redbud and Texas Redbud, you notice that the Mexican Redbud's not from around here.


Cercis canadensis var. mexicana

Cercis canadensis var. texensis

 

 

 

 

 

 

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