Smoke Trees

Smoke Tree – Seems to Be Dead

janicebuckokie added on September 18, 2015 | Answered

We have had a beautiful smoke tree in our front yard for about 3 years. This spring (Tulsa, OK) we had torrential rain for over a month but come July, it got hot and not much rain. The tree bloomed beautifully until sometime around mid-late July when the leaves quickly turned brown. Even though I tried watering it daily for a couple weeks it did not recover. The branches are dry and brittle. However, there is one small green shoot coming from the base. Am wondering if the tree should just be totally removed or whether it might revive next spring. I'm attaching photos of before/after. Many thanks!

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on September 21, 2015

You can test the branches, if they snap and break they are likely dead. Bending branches and if you scrape the bark and it is green underneath there is still life in the tree.
The stress of to much rain may have weakened the plant.
Did you inspect for any signs of insect or disease?
Your tree was likely a grafted tree, meaning the rootstock is of a different cultivator than the tree. You can let the shoot grow but it will likely be a different tree than the original.
Sometimes there is just no explanation for the death of an established tree. You can remove the tree now, or wait until spring.

Losses in the garden make for new opportunities!

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