UACES Facebook Flowering


November 2014

QuestionWhen I bought my house seven years ago, I had a tree (picture enclosed) that was only 4 feet tall.  I watered it back to life and it has grown quite large.  It has beautiful blooms in the spring and seed pods in late summer/fall.  Could you tell me what it is and how large it will become?


Answer The tree in question is commonly called a tulip poplar – Liriodendron tulipifera.  It is a statuesque tree with tulip like flowers hidden within the tree in late spring, and woody capsules in the fall.  The tree grows up to 100 feet or more tall at maturity.

 September 2012

QuestionWe live in south Pulaski county and have four Bradford pear trees clustered in a large front yard. I discovered three of them blooming, YES blooming, this morning. They look beautiful after turning brown during the drought of July. Thanks for letting me share this.

AnswerWe had an early spring and an early summer, so many spring blooming plants set flower buds for next season early as well. Then we had a miserable summer, so some of these plants went into early dormancy—thus the brown leaves. We finally got some rain and cooler weather, so some of these plants thought they had experienced their dormancy and have started to bloom. I have seen tulip magnolias, the ornamental pears and even a few once a year hydrangeas with flowers again—not the re-blooming types. I would not be surprised if this trend continues. There is nothing you can do to make it stop, so enjoy these extra flowers./p>

June 2012

QuestionI need some info concerning a crepe myrtle plant. It came with the house 8 years ago and was then a well established plant that has bloomed beautiful every summer. A couple of days ago I noticed that the blossoms were not as dark pink as in previous years and upon further inspection I noticed that the leaves of the whole plant were sticky. I had never seen this on this plant in previous years and am now worried about what to use to treat it with. I did spray the whole plant with Sevin bug spray but don't know how to proceed.

AnswerIt looks to me like you have a heavy infestation of aphids. As these sucking insects feed, they give off a very sticky substance called honeydew—that is what is causing the sticky, shiny substance on the leaves. Left long enough, the sticky honeydew will turn black as black sooty mold begins to form. Sevin is not a good insecticide for sucking insects. You can use a contact insecticide such as insecticidal soap or Malathion or Orthene which is a systemic. Even a strong spray of water can dislodge them. Aphids multiply rapidly in ideal conditions and can quickly explode in populations

October 2011

QuestionWe have 3 bradford pear trees and one is now in bloom. Is this unusual for this time of year? I have watered all three during our dry summer but this particular one had lost most of its leaves. We are enjoying the blooms but are wondering what it will do in the spring.

AnswerThis errant blooming occurs many years when it has been dry and plants started into an early dormancy. Before they shut down, they set flower buds for the next season. Then we get some rain and cooler weather, then it warms up, and they are fooled into thinking spring has arrived. We see this on some fruit trees, commonly on tulip magnolias and occasionally on forsythia, flowering quince and azaleas. Enjoy the flowers while you have them—there isn’t anything you can do to prevent it. Normally it is only a small percentage of the blooms and you should have more in the spring.

January 2012

Question Our newest addition to our yard is a 3' tall Saucer Magnolia. It is growing in full sun, no shade, and I planted it in late October. I noticed yesterday that it just started budding fresh blooms on almost every branch. Is this common to bloom this late in the season and in its first year? As a general tree question, when is too early to prune a young tree?

AnswerThe buds of all spring blooming magnolias are quite visible in late summer, but hopefully they aren’t blooming. If you do have flowers, they probably didn’t last long with the cold temperatures. Spring blooming saucer or tulip magnolias (Magnolia soulangiana) set their flower buds in August or early September. These buds typically open in early spring. Newer varieties tend to open a bit later than the original saucer magnolias, but all can be susceptible to a late frost. We had a number of spring blooming plants with a few blooms this fall due to our eratic weather, but hopefully you will have more in the spring. As to when to prune a tree, age really isn’t a factor. Knowing what the expected outcomes are and solving problems when you find them should happen at any age.

December 2011

Question I have a 25 year old dogwood tree that is blooming now. I noticed a couple full sized blooms last Saturday. Sunday I noticed one additional branch full of smaller blooms. How unusual is this? The dry hot summer has stressed the tree, which has about half its leaves withered and brown. I had never pruned the tree, until July of this year, when I remove quite a few of the lower limbs to allow sunlight to shrubs and various plants under the dogwood. I painted the wounds where I cut off the branches.

AnswerYou are not alone--many spring bloomers have had some errant blooms this fall. My loropetalum shrub is in full bloom right now! Many of our plants set their flower buds early and shut down early to deal with our horrendous summer. Then we finally got some rain, it turned cool, heated up again and they thought spring had arrived. There is nothing you can do but enjoy the blooms. Assess the damage next spring to your tree from the summer heat and prune as needed after they finish blooming next spring. Tree paints for pruning cuts are not needed--a nice clean cut is all you want.

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