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

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 Planting Questions

Schedule for planting perennial wildflowers from Asheville NC
March 22, 2013 - When is the best time to plant perennial wildflowers?
view the full question and answer

Competition between peony and bulbs
November 06, 2015 - I am planting 3 herbaceous peony bare roots 3 feet apart from each other. I am told it will take 3 years before I get blooms. In the meantime, can i safely plant springtime flowering bulbs in th...
view the full question and answer

Growing Loblolly Pine in Salado, Texas
March 09, 2016 - I would like to plant a loblolly pine in Salado, Texas. Will these grow well here?
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for trees to withstand high winds on Top Sail Island, North Caroloina.
August 20, 2013 - Moving to coastal southern North Carolina. Planting native trees and shrubs, wax bayberry, Redbud, love the River Birch. What type of tree has the deepest roots or would be least likely to blow over...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a specimen shade tree in San Rafael, CA
June 04, 2013 - I'm looking for a specimen shade tree that can get 30'x30', that doesn't drop a bunch of crud (seeds, etc) on the patio (leaves are ok), medium to low water requirement, roots are behaved, zone 9,...
view the full question and answer

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