My Forest Pansy Redbud is in serious trouble.

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by nbays1, Aug 19, 2009.

  1. nbays1

    nbays1 Member

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    On June 9, 2009 I purchaced a 1.5" caliper Cercis Canadensis (Forest Pansy Redbud) from a local independant nursery here in the Dallas Texas area. I planted the tree on June 14 as a commerative event the day my wife's family came to visit us from Taiwan.

    The tree had been doing quite well surviving the Texas heat, this past June has been one of the worst in years. I had been keeping it regularily watered during this time.

    During mid to late July, here in the Rowlett area of North Texas, we've had an unusually high amount of rainfall. I relaxed my tree watering duties during this time because the ground stayed all a mush. I felt it only necessary to resume watering around Aug 6. At this point the tree was still looking quite healthy.

    Within 2 days of the first watering I noticed the tree began to drop leaves. From that point on it has continued to drop leaves from the inside of the tree to the outside. Now all that's left are the outermost leaves, and they're basically dead...

    I called the nursery on the 10th, I was really concerned. After my description of the situation to them, they said it sounded like drought stress...

    The tree has devoloped buds, i know it's way tool late for flower buds, I hope they're leaf buds, but i don't know how to tell the difference.

    Most of the branches are still pliable. I'm keeping it watered, at least 20 gallons over 2 hours every 3 days.

    Do i have any hope here? The sudden downhill leaf drop makes me wonder if there was some poision, but I have not been applying anything to the lawn or sourronding area except a root stimulator that the nursery suggested. That has been applied on a 3 to 4 week basis..

    Pictures attached

    First one is shortly after I noticed the severity of decline.
    Second one is from this evening.
    Third one is also this evening showing the buds.

    Thanks,
    Nathan
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    Hi Nbays1,

    I think it's M. Dirr that says Cercis canadensis is notoriously sensitive to any environmental stress. I checked with his manual after i killed a pair of my own 'Forest Pansy'. I am growing a thriving 'Covey' and it certainly flourished like never before in this year's rainy spring and early summer.

    Planting the tree for a commemoration is a lovely act. I think it would have been better if you could have planted it in autumn, esp in TX.

    Buds on your tree seems like a positive sign. If you're a believer in "vitamins" you might give a dose of superthrive. I don't beleive it could do any harm and it has a dramatic effect with certain plants at certain times.
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    As the leaves have no sign of purple pigment at all tree seems most unlikely to have been correctly labeled. Perhaps a scion of the cultivar failed and the rootstock was grown up in its place, shipped out as the cultivar.

    Posts about difficulties with redbuds abound on internet garden forums.
     
  4. nbays1

    nbays1 Member

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    Poetry to Burn,

    I wholeheartedly agree, fall would have been best for the planting, but i wonder if i'd have been able to keep the tree alive in a pot for that long. I purchaced the tree at 1/2 price in early June. I figured it best to get it into the ground asap..

    For now, I won't add any stimulator - vitamins - ect. I too worried about adding additional stress.



    Ron B,

    Yes, no purple in the pictures, but when I purchaced the tree it still had some purplish, and redish hues in the leaves. My reading on the internet suggests that greening out is common for this species when planted in full sun. On a side note, i'v also noticed that this particular tree has leaves (had) that are roughly 2x the size of the local native redbuds..
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Here the oldest leaves become greenish during summer, but not entirely green. The less old are bronze, the newest purple. If your hot climate is cooking the purple out of it it is doing an exceptionally good job of it.
     
  6. nbays1

    nbays1 Member

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    Ron B,

    Yeah, I'm several climate zones away from your location. I guess trees will behaive differently in different climate zones.

    Yes, the Texas heat cooked all the color out of the leaves, even the green... That's why i'm posting and asking for help.

    I appriciate your input.

    -Nathan
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Or it is a less-purple seedling of the cultivar that was sold incorrectly as the true item. Variable seedlings of the 'Bloodgood' Japanese maple and the 'Palace Purple' heuchera have been grown and sold as these cultivars for years.

    This page does have a link to a picture showing older leaves having gone quite green - but with purple younger leaves still present.

    http://www.shreckhise.com/Catalog/catalog website.htm

    Maybe yours has not made new leaves for a long time, making it now all-green.
     
  8. nbays1

    nbays1 Member

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    Ron B,

    Ok, perhaps it was mislabeled. Now what? I suppose that the other dozen trees I selected this one from were also mislabeled. This grouping of trees was directly located against another grouping of the Eastern Redbuds. The two trees were distinctly different. I selected one that was grouped with the Forest Pansys, looked liked the others, had tags like the others, ect..

    -Nathan
     
  9. nbays1

    nbays1 Member

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  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    If it looked like the one at the above link earlier in the season - and has not made any new leaves for some time - then it seems safe to assume it is the same, the lack of new growth being the reason for the lack of purple.
     
  11. nbays1

    nbays1 Member

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    Ok,

    Now that it's mostly established the tree is what I originally said it is. Does anyone have any useful information about what is wrong with this tree, or how I can help this tree survive?

    Anyone with knowledge about the Redbud budding behaivour? Are the buds in the pictures flower or leaf?

    -Nathan
     
  12. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Pull back the mulch to check watering and planting depth. Many people with struggling trees and shrubs think they are keeping a newly planted subject successfully watered but actually are not, often due to textural differences between potting soil/field soil rootballs and soil around them, on the final planting site. Poke around in the original soil ball to see if it is in fact moist, rather than dry or sodden.

    If you have kept it moist the whole time the weather should not have been able to make it look this bad. Redbuds are hot climate trees, there is even a species native to Texas.

    Looking at the shot with it in a near-leafless condition I suspect it is probably blighting off, as these often do. If your site for instance happened to have verticillium or other soil-borne pathogen - for which redbuds seem to be magnets - possibly that might have gotten into it already. You would contact your state Cooperative Extension office for help with this. Putting up pictures on a web site is not likely to produce a sure, accurate diagnosis of a specific problem that is not dramatically self-evident. What you have is not the same as if it has Japanese beetles crawling on it or coral spot fungus popping out of it.

    If you look at the rootball and find it is in bad shape, that would certainly explain the decline of the top.
     
  13. nbays1

    nbays1 Member

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    Mulch was pulled back after the leaf drop was observed. See difference from photo 1 to photo 2.


    Since leaf drop was seen, I have made sure that the soil stays continually moist, but not drowned. The rootball is getting completely wet during my waterings.

    How to check for Verticillium? This yard has been barren with the exception of St. Augistine grass for man years. I'm not even sure if there is a local Co-Op anyomore. I live in the burbs, Co-Ops are for the farming communities, aren't they?

    Yup, Redbuds are native here. I thought this would be a good landscape tree, and questioned the local nursery before i purchased it. All things pointed to this being a good choice.. The un-devoloping stick planted in my backyard is making me sad all the same.

    FYI, As i said before, the branches & stems are still pliable. Also there is still green tissue remaining on the stems that currently have buds..
     
  14. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Current pliability does not rule out pathogenic problem - or mortality. Sometimes prematurely defoliated trees remain pliable for months, but never leaf out again.

    http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/
     
  15. nbays1

    nbays1 Member

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    ...
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2009

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