Smoke Tree

flexwebberApril 7, 2014

Anyone ever tried growing a Smoke Tree? Thoughts? Thanks.

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ritmatt(GA 7b)

I've had one in the ground for about 9 months, so I haven't seen it flower yet. I'm in Georgia, a little north of Atlanta (7b). It's pretty ugly in the winter. No leaves and the tips of the branches are black and twisted. I thought it was probably dead, until I spotted some at the nursery that looked just as bad. Mine's just starting to bud now, but it looks like it's going to be healthy after all. Too soon to tell whether or not it's a long-term keeper, though.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 8:53PM
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I have several of them. They're easy. I like the way they look in winter, lots of branch interest. Extraordinarily showy when in bloom and always full of bird nests.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 9:41PM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

They are slow to leaf out in spring. Be patient.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 12:52AM
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Calliope - Do they take a while to get established? The first poster seems to have a little problem with them. Did you plant them in full sun? Thanks

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 12:54AM
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Yes, they all started out in full sun, but one of them is now in more of an understory situation. Yes, they are slow to leaf out. I have one American smoke tree (continus obovatus) and two European smoke trees (Cotinus coggygria). You will probably see more of the latter offered in nurseries than the former. The American smoke tree has a more tree-like form, gets larger, and has less showy smoke as a rule. The latter are more like large shrubs, and can be multi-branched and you may need to do a little 'training' to make it take a tree form. Both are dioecious, meaning they, like holly, have male or female flowers but not both on the same plant. Both produce 'smoke' however and flowers on the male tree are slightly showier. I don't know how to answer your question about getting established. The obovatus was here when I moved in, the coggygria took awhile to morph from shrub to tree but were showy at all sizes and not at all requiring any special care.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 2:19AM
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Thanks, that was very helpful

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 6:42AM
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After hearing two posters on the west coast make statements about American fringetree and American smoketree leafing out late, I thought it must me a west coast thing. Then calliope reaffirms their statement at least with the smoketree...

In my yard, smoketree and fringetree broke bud sometime early last week and my sugar maples haven't even begun to flower (only 1 tree out of 8 cultivars even has swollen buds!), red maples haven't broke bud (but they have flowered), and none of my oaks have broken bud either. Oh, for added confusion, my Kentucky coffee tree has also broken bud. All 3 claimed to be late leafers are ahead of red and sugar maples and they are on the same pace as the local elms!!!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 9:09AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

as noted.. the common name fails us.. as to IDing your plant .. do you know the latin of the one that interests you ???

my experience with such,. is that they are shrubs ... that can be trained into tree shape ... i dont know if that is dependent on which one you are talking about ...

these things get extremely huge i hope you have it properly sited ... i planted one 6 feet from the house once... and within a very few years... i was running it over with the truck .. as it was growing 3 to 5 feet per year.. and scraping on the gutters .... [and it wasnt easy getting the truck in that bed so close to the house.. lol]

if you are a novice as to pruning ... you might be better off.. buying one already made into a tree ...

if you are interested in learning.. this is a great plant to learn on.. as.. once established after planting.. i doubt you could kill the thing ... but succeeding on making it look like a tree.. might be hard ...

BTW ... it might take a few years for it to settle in.. and flower ... i seem to recall such ....


    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 9:24AM
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ritmatt(GA 7b)

To be fair, my young tree is still quite small. Maybe the winter branches will be more interesting in a few years. The leaves are starting to show their Spring color now - I'll try to remember to post a picture this weekend.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 8:23PM
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