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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - September 07, 2009

From: Alburtis, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Trees
Title: Failure of smoke tree to bloom in Alburtis PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

For whatever reason, my smoke tree did not bloom during its second season. Any ideas?

ANSWER:

Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree) is native no farther north than Kentucky, and is hardy from USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 8.  There is another tree with the common name "smoketree," Cotinus coggygria (smoketree) which is native to Southern Europe, Central China and the Himalayas,  This USDA Plant Profile shows this tree growing in Pennsylvania and as far north as some provinces of Canada.  The expertise of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is limited to the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. 

To help you answer your own question, did this tree bloom previously, or are you saying you have had the tree two years and it hasn't bloomed yet. Many trees do not bloom until they have several years of maturity. Blooming takes a great deal of energy from the plant, and they need to devote that energy to leaves and roots the first few years. If it has bloomed previously for you, what has changed in the environment of the tree during the past year? Too much fertilizer, especially too much high nitrogen fertilizer like you put on lawns, will produce lush leaves and few or no blooms. Perhaps this website from Floridata, Cotinus coggygria, will give you the answers you need. 

 

More Trees Questions

A suggestion for a native small tree for San Diego
September 23, 2010 - Another good suggestion for a native small tree for San Diego - Garrya veatchii - Southern Silktassle. It's really gorgeous!
view the full question and answer

Hardy Tree for Kansas
March 14, 2012 - I'm hoping to find a tree that is hardy and will survive all rough seasons in Wichita, KS. The spot is in front of a northern exposure window.
view the full question and answer

Planting live oak trees in summer in Austin
June 09, 2011 - We would like to plant a few live oak trees in our front yard for shade and animal protection. As it is very hot and dry right now, can we plant now? If not, when?
view the full question and answer

Problems with Eastern hemlock in Greenville SC
July 02, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a beautiful, young, 5 and a half foot tall Eastern Hemlock. I purchased and planted it two years ago in the fall. It has been doing very well all this spring. And ne...
view the full question and answer

Brown spots on young redbuds in Lincoln TX
August 01, 2010 - I have lined my driveway in Lee County Texas with Red bud trees purchased both in Dripping Springs and in College Station. The 14 trees are of varying ages and heights (planted during the fall and wi...
view the full question and answer

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