I have a purple smoke bush that's about 10 years old that I've mostly let...

Asked May 4, 2015, 7:22 PM EDT

I have a purple smoke bush that's about 10 years old that I've mostly let grow as it will. It's been a great specimen tree next to the deck, providing beauty and shade. Today I noticed that there has been no budding of leaves on any of the branches off the main central trunk. This main trunk also has some damage with a big split where the big branches stem apart (I don't think this was here last year,) and some bark is also splitting along these limbs. Other secondary trunks are budding well. Is half my tree dead or will it come back? If it must be cut back, would just cutting this main central trunk out be appropriate or should the whole thing be cut back to get it to regrow in a healthier form? Would I need to wait for fall to cut it back? Photo attached.

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response


That's a pretty severe wound in your smoke bush. Trees often do not come back from that kind of damage.

I am concerned about cutting out the main central trunk. Cutting back the entire thing might be the way to go. You should not prune after buds have begun to show, so you should wait until fall.

If the tree is very important to you, you could consider hiring a certified arborist to come have a look. Here is some info on finding a certified arborist:http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/how-to-hire-a-professional-arborist/