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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - June 15, 2011

From: DeLand, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Problems with redbud in DeLand FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My native Redbud trees leaves are turning yellow and a sucker branch has died. What could it be?

ANSWER:

The first thing we think of when we hear of yellowing leaves is chlorosis, which is usually caused by some sort of deficiency in the soil. Depending on whether the soil is acid or alkaline can influence what minerals in the soil become inaccessible to the plant and therefore cause the deficiency. We checked to see what the pH of the soil in Florida is, and it is mostly neutral to slightly acidic. We found the the Cercis canadensis (Eastern redbud) is most often recommended to grow in the Eastern United States, but it also grows in the more alkaline soils in Texas. Cercis canadensis var. mexicana (Mexican redbud) and Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud) tend to do better in alkaline soils. Read this article about Straight talk about deficiency in plants.

We found an article on Chlorosis in Trees and Shrubs from Washington State University from which we extracted this paragraph that sounds like the symptoms you are reporting:

"Plants with iron chlorosis first turn yellow-green to yellow between the veins, with the veins remaining a darker green. With more severe chorosis the leaves  become pale yellow and develop brown spots between the main veins. Leaf margins may also turn brown with the leaves later drying up and falling off. Tree growth slows to a stop and dieback of branches can occur when iron chlorosis is extremely severe."

Because there are so many different factors that can be causing your problem, including overwatering, nitrogen deficiency and poor drainage or damage around the roots, we can make no conclusion. We suggest you contact the University of Florida Extension Office for DeLand County for some help specific to your area. We we were unsuccessful in reaching any of their websites, perhaps they are working on the sites, but this site has a map and telephone number.

 

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