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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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Saturday - April 28, 2012

From: Kerrville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Watering, Trees
Title: Problems with Cedar Elm in Kerrville TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We live in 10 miles outside Kerrville - have a Cedar Elm tree - planted 4 or 5 years ago, 15-20 foot high, is losing leaves in the top 1/4th. Rest of leaves look healthy and green.

ANSWER:

According to this USDA Plant Profile Map, Ulmus crassifolia (Cedar elm) is native near enough to Kerr County that the soils or climate should not be a problem. However, we suspect drought stress. The Texas Forest Service has an article on Effects of Drought Distress. It specifically mentions wilting of the upper leaves on a tree as being an indicator of drought stress. The Missouri Department of Conservation also has an excellent article on Drought Stress in Trees, including recommendations on watering trees. We have been going through very significant climate challenges the last few years, and every indication is that they are not over. A tree is one of the most valuable assets on your property and every effort needs to be made to help them through this situation.

 

From the Image Gallery


Cedar elm
Ulmus crassifolia

Cedar elm
Ulmus crassifolia

Cedar elm
Ulmus crassifolia

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