The Q&A Archives: Sunburst Honey Locust

Question: I planted Sunburst Honey Locust in Aug 99. It's about 6 ft tall. This year there are leaves coming from the lower trunk only and the top of the tree seems to be dead. What is happening?

Answer: It's possible that cold weather nipped the top of your tree during the winter months and you may have to cut it back and train one of the lateral (side) branches to take its place. Prune off the dead section by first checking for green tissue under the bark of the tree. Scrape it with your thumbnail, beginning at the very tip and working your way down, until you find live tissue. Prune away the dead growth. Once it's been pruned your tree should send out new shoots just below the pruning cut. Choose the strongest looking shoot and prune the others away. The new shoot can be supported in an upward position to take the place of the dead top shoot. Be sure to rub out any buds that develop on the trunk of the tree if they're misplaced. (The buds will eventually grow into branches if they're allowed to develop fully.)

Hope your locust recovers!

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