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
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

Sappy dew killing plants under oaks in Missouri
September 19, 2008 - There is a sappy dew killing my perennials.I have several large oaks in my yard. I had different kinds of shade perennials around each base of the trees. But as years have gone by, the different varie...
view the full question and answer

Tall screening tree for Santa Barbara, California
August 20, 2011 - Hi, we live in Santa Barbara, California. We are looking for a tree between 20-30 feet high to block the neighbors two-story house yet the area we have to plant is 3 feet from the fence to the drivewa...
view the full question and answer

Persimmon trunk grown around fence rail in Austin
November 08, 2012 - I have a Texas Persimmon in my backyard that is about 12-15 feet tall. It's been growing next to a chain-link fence and over the years, the top rail of the fence has cut into the bark on the trunk. A...
view the full question and answer

Will corn fall victim to allelopathy from hackberry in Clarkridge AR
March 30, 2013 - Will my corn be inhibited by a nearby hackberry and if so would it help to cut it down? I understand that sometimes the soil is full of the chemicals the tree produces.
view the full question and answer

Flowering Dogwood for NY
February 21, 2011 - Hello - can you advise me on a disease-resistant/hardy dogwood? Every nursery I've visited has discouraged me from planting dogwoods. What would you recommend? I live in Westchester County, NY
view the full question and answer

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