Coral tree help needed

talonstormJanuary 21, 2014

Hi. There is a coral tree planted in my front yard (previous owners put it in) that is struggling. It has not flowered since I moved in (May 2012). It has only gotten leaves on one branch and this year there were very few leaves on even that branch. I can post pictures if that would be helpful to diagnose the problem. Just let me know specifically what you would like to see (trunk, leaves, etc.). I would really like to save the tree if possible.

Thanks, Tina

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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

let's see pics of the tree and a closeup of the trunk soil interface.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 11:01AM
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stanofh

Most problems like that are..not enough water. Especially in soucal and lately. It sure isn't the winter cold.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 1:05PM
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talonstorm

Sorry for the delay on the pictures. I was hoping to get home from work before dark one night this week to take them, but it didn't work out.

So, I took one of the base of the tree, one of the entire tree, one of the only leaves on the tree, and one of a branch I recently (maybe 1.5 weeks ago) nipped off. Any ideas based on these pictures?

Thanks again, Tina

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 10:09PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Do the fingernail scratch test to see if the nonleafing trunks still have green beneath the bark. There are borers that attack Erythrinas in Hawaii, Florida and Mexico, which aren't commonly seen here in California. No foliage in over a year would seem to indicate those branches/trunks are dead.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 11:01PM
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stanofh

They do go dormant also..they aren't evergreen. So trunks could be alive waiting for.. some water. The previous owner might have pushed it into dropping all leaves..and its hanging on. Its a big coral tree. I had thought you had a 6-8' with one branch alive!.
Is that E. caffra? Once you get them back to growing, THEN go easy on the water.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 1:26PM
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talonstorm

It is still green under the bark. I would think it is getting enough water, the grass there gets watered and the bushes behind get watered. The ground isn't super soaked, but I was afraid to add water lines near it because everything I read online said they don't like a lot of water. Maybe it will leaf this year. I just wish I knew what to change to make it happy. When I bought the house it was out in flowers, but very sparse leaves. Then the flowers fell off and the leaves never came back. I bought the house in May 2012. I did have it trimmed by an arborist when I first moved in, maybe that made it go dormant?? It is a big tree and it was so pretty with the flowers. I hate to remove it if I can do something to save it. I have no idea which variety it is. I was guessing Erythina caffra, but I based that just by looking at which one looked most similar in pictures.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 8:39PM
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stanofh

Yeah,the pruning took off all the flowering age growth. And as you saw..they are dormant when in bloom. Its looks big and very healthy to me. Never tip prune..or your pruning off the very point of having a Coral tree!
It will leaf out soon. When it does you might then feed lightly..and then go easy as they can bloat up, and fall over,or at least drop even big branches if watered too well.
But, looks great to me. Congrats on having that. Try Aloes or succulents under it..better then grass.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 2:15PM
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newbiegreen

Hi! I have the exact same problem with my coral tree. My tree looks like yours, talonstorm. We purchased our home also about 2 years ago and at that time, it bloomed beautifully (I think it was around end of Feb). But since then, no flowers. Some branches have leafing but the majority do not. I tried doing the fingernail scratch test as bahia advised and some branches are green underneath and some look light to dark brown underneath and dried out/dead. For those dried out branches, would I just have to cut them off? I've never pruned the tree and I'm afraid to. I read that pruning incorrectly can somehow remove the flower buds. Any tips on how to get this tree blooming again? Talonstorm, how is your tree holding up? Were you able to get it to bloom again? Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2015 at 8:56PM
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