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
1 rating

Tuesday - July 06, 2010

From: Lockhart, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Why has my Kidneywood tree not put out leaves this year in Lockhart, TX?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have a native Kidneywood which I planted in 2003. It has grown enthusiastically since that time. It has always leafed late in the Spring, late April - mid - May. It bloomed several times in 2009. This year, it has not put on leaves. I believe it is alive because when I bend the branches, they continue to bend and do not break. This Kidneywood is the only one on my property. It is in a well-established native garden. When I talk to the tree, I'm told its alive and well. =) Since my house is up for sale, my realtor has questioned the tree remaining in its current location, since it looks dead. Thus far I have refused to do more than prune it back a little. Do you have any suggestions? Is it normal for a live tree (which successfully survive our 2009 unusually hot summer and unusually cold winter) to take a year off from producing leaves? Please advise. Thank you for your time and energy.

ANSWER:

No, it is not normal for a live tree to take a year off from producing leaves. it is the leaves that manufacture the food that keeps the plant alive.

Another way to test your hypothesis that the plant is  alive  is to do the "scratch test". Select an upper branch and remove some of the bark with your thumbnail. You are looking for green tissue beneath the bark. If you find none at the first site, continue testing further down the stem. If you get to the bottom of the plant without finding any green tissue, I'm afraid you have experienced Kidneywood failure.

 

More Trees Questions

Brown circular ring in trimmed branches of redbud tree
January 22, 2009 - I have a redbud tree that was recently trimed back. When looking at the cross section of the branches, I noticed a brown circular ring. Is this a problem and if so what can I do to correct it?
view the full question and answer

Tree to replace Betula nigra (River birch) in Memphis
August 13, 2012 - HI Mr. Smarty Pants, I think I need to replace the river birch tree in my west-facing front yard in Memphis, TN. I have sun all day, but it gets really hot in the afternoon. The soil in my yar...
view the full question and answer

Juniper as host of cedar-apple rust
July 17, 2007 - Thanks for the helpful advice on the Eastern Red Cedar. I was wondering if you could ease my mind about a potential problem. I have read up on some of the native plants in my area in a very good book ...
view the full question and answer

Replacement for running bamboo in California
May 20, 2013 - We currently have running bamboo planted next to the side our house facing West, which has provided wonderful shade in front of two large windows. However, because it is running bamboo we are afraid i...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Royal Empress tree with only green leaves from Chambersburg PA
July 12, 2013 - I have 3 Royal Empress trees in my yard that are between 2-4 yrs old and have never been any color other then big Green leaves. Do you know when they will turn Purple?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center