The Q&A Archives: cotinus coggyria

Question: I have a cotinus coggyria

Answer: This slow growing, open-crown, round, small tree eventually reaches to 12 to 15 feet tall (occasionally 20) and 10 to 12 feet wide. The large panicles of wispy purple-colored flowers produced in spring and early summer give the effect of a cloud of smoke. They make a wonderful accent in a shrub border and can be planted as a specimen or as a patio tree where the black, showy, multiple trunk can be displayed. Planting smoketree is a good way to extend the spring flowering-tree season into the summer. This cultivar has deep purple leaves which keep their color all summer long. Fall color is usually a rich red-purple. Many people grow it simply to enjoy the spectacular fall color. Smoketree grows best in a sunny location and a well-drained loam. It will grow asymmetrically and lean toward the light in a partially sunny area, so it is best to locate it in full day sun where the crown will develop symmetrically. Though sometimes short-lived in rich soil, Smoketree is useful in dry, rocky soil where there is no irrigation. It also grows in a wide range of soil pH, including alkaline. Probably short-lived (20 years - maybe more) in most situations but who cares - the tree is great while it's around!

The most serious disease is Verticillium wilt. Smoketree is very susceptible, and entire branches wilt and die. Prune out infected branches, fertilize, and water the plant during dry weather. Best wishes with your tree.

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