Contact Us Host an Event 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

Sunday - April 11, 2010

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Planting, Transplants, Trees
Title: Why isn't my recently planted Mexican Redbud growing in Georgetown, TX?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I planted a container-grown Mexican Redbud in early March. As of April 5th, it is showing no signs of buds or leaves. Other redbuds in the area (possibly Texas redbuds) have been blooming for several weeks. Is this species later blooming? Should I take it back to the nursery or wait a few more weeks?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks that your Mexican Redbud Cercis canadensis var. mexicana  is suffering from transplant shock. Speaking anthropomorphically, you and the tree are at cross-purposes; while you are anxiously awaiting buds and leaves, the tree is more concerned about establishing its root system so that it can support those buds and leaves. You can satisfy yourself that the plant is still alive by employing the thumb nail test; starting at the top of the tree, scratch a small area of the bark with your thumbnail to see if there is green tissue below the bark. If there isn't, move down the stem a little and try again. If you find no green tissue as you move down the stem, its time to go back to the nursery.

I've included two websites that thoroughly cover tree planting and transplant shock: one is from the University of Kentucky and the other is from treesaregood.org.

This may not be relevant, but if you compare the USDA's County Distribution maps for Mexican Redbud and Texas Redbud, you notice that the Mexican Redbud's not from around here.


Cercis canadensis var. mexicana

Cercis canadensis var. texensis

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Problems with Green Cloud purple sage in Buda TX
May 30, 2009 - I planted the "Green Cloud" variety of purple sage about 3 years ago. Yesterday, I noticed yellowish dots on the underside of the leaves of some plants. Is this harmful? The plants seem to be ok ...
view the full question and answer

Full Sun, Wind-Tolerant Shrubs and Vines for Steep MN Hillside
June 26, 2013 - My neighbor and I share a very steep, large (in total almost 200 ft. wide) west-facing hillside in Excelsior, MN on Lake Minnetonka. We both have a flat grass area at the bottom so the hillside does n...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Gregg's mistflower from Fredericksburg, TX
May 19, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: Something is wilting the tops of my Gregg's mistflower, Conoclinium greggii. I cannot see bugs on the plant, so I am wondering if it's a disease. The problem is widespread to...
view the full question and answer

Possible causes for plant problems in East Texas
September 06, 2007 - I have been an avid gardener for over 35 years in Texas.I love the wildflowers and use them extensively in my 2 acre plot here in East Texas. There is something really bad going on with my garden: pl...
view the full question and answer

Problems with mountain laurel from Sunrise Beach TX
August 29, 2012 - In Llano Co., TX near lake LBJ, crushed granite type soil - my 4 - 5 year old TX Mtn. Laurels (2), about the size of large wheel barrows, are turning very pale, dropping leaves and on 1 the seed pods ...
view the full question and answer

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