Catalpa health

Asked June 9, 2013, 3:28 PM EDT

Fall 2011 transplanted 15 foot tall catalpa from neighbors yard to mine.
Spring 2012 - leaves and apparent success. No flowers.
Winter 2012/2013 - leaf drop, watered occaisionally (with other trees)
Spring 2013 - no leaves on existing branches. It appears to have buds- just no leaves. However, new leaves have sprouted in 3 or 4 locations (all below existing branches) from the bark. Two (2) very vibrant suckers from have sprouted 3-4 inches from the base of the trunk.

Should I trim the sprouts on the trunk?
Should I remove the suckers?
Is it possible the branches will still sprout?
If not- how stable will the trunk branches be? (like will they just rot and fall or get brittle and remain)
Thank you for your assistance.

Arapahoe County Colorado trees and shrubs

2 Responses


It doesn't sound too good for your tree.

One way to determine if it is still alive is to take a few branches and scrape the bark off with your fingernail. If it is green, the tree is still alive. If it is brown, it's likely that at least that particular branch is dead, if not the whole tree.

Fall transplanting is difficult for a tree because it is hard for the tree to begin getting established before going into winter. The timing of the transplanting together with a very dry winter in 2012-13 and the wild temperature fluctuations in March and April were probably pretty hard on this tree.

If it appears to be still alive you can trim the sprouts on the trunk and remove the suckers and hope for the best. If it is dead it will probably just get brittle and remain standing. Since it probably never got established it is doubtful that it will rot.

Thank you -
I had already scraped the bark gently in several places - green on the trunk in lotsa places - the branches not so much.

And since I asked - sprouts have appeared in a dozens of places - on the trunk, not on the existing branches. My puppy took care of the suckers - but she is not interested in any of the sprouts. My plan now is to let the sprouts do as well as they can - and then when I prune next, try to make some kind of shape.

If only there was a really good, large leaf, tall tree that would thrive well here.

My Blue Spruce is over 40' tall now... scared to death of beetles (ips and spruce bark) but so far so good.