En Español

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
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

Need information about pruning Persimmon trees in Buda, TX.
November 29, 2010 - Mr. Smarty, We have many wild persimmon trees in our yard. Some I want prune to bush size. What is the best way to prune these trees and to what extent can they be safely pruned. Thank you for shari...
view the full question and answer

Small, slow-growing native tree for Houston
October 05, 2008 - Can you please recommend a pretty, small, slow growing tree for my bed centerpiece? It gets some sun/partial shade in front of my Houston area north facing home and must survive heat and some drought...
view the full question and answer

Locating a Western Soapberry Tree for Montezuma IN
November 20, 2009 - Hello, I hope you can help. We homeschool in Indiana (Dad is a native Texan, transplanted). We are looking for someone with a healthy, mature & fruiting Western Soapberry Tree..sapindus drumondii.
view the full question and answer

Tree that successfully treats psoriasis
January 31, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty plants,I have a rather unusual question. Do you know of a tree/plant that you can grow in a container, looks like a conifer/evergreen, is green, has wispy looking branches, but when t...
view the full question and answer

Controlling live oak sprouts in Lakeland FL
November 23, 2009 - We had a live oak taken down last year. We now have sprouts we cannot get rid of and they continue to multiply invading the lawn. We did not have this problem so much when the tree was there. Is ther...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center