Beautiful Cassia just fell over

Datawgal(8/9 SC)July 31, 2004

My neighbor had the most beautiful Cassia (Senna bicapsularis) and we were all looking forward to it's blooming this fall. It had about 5 3" trunks, was about 8' tall and appeared to be very healthy. It was windy here Friday and this tree was blown over and the trunks were broken off at the base. There were a lot of carpenter ants milling around the base after it happened.

We had a freeze a few years ago, this tree was killed to the ground and, as usual, came back from the base. I think the ants were devouring the old, dead stumps at the base. Do you think the ants just undermined the soil at the base of the tree causing it to fall? I didn't think carpenter ants attacked healthy trees and there was no indication that this one wasn't healthy.

Or, do these trees typically have weak wood? Any ideas will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

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wilmington_islander(9A/Sunset 28)

Kind of both. They have weak wood and weak root systems....her best bet is to give it some "anchor" plants to prevent this from happening again. My Cassia came thru last winter unscathed ( year before went all the way down to the ground). It is about 10 feet tall and wide. I have mine planted in between two Indian Hawthornes for the very reason your friend is experiencing.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2004 at 8:54AM
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Datawgal(8/9 SC)

Thanks, that is pretty much what I thought, This tree is history but thankfully they grow fast. Like yours, it had come back from the freeze the winter before last. The rapid growth rate is probably what makes the wood weak. Perhaps they should be cut back even after the mild winters.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2004 at 9:19AM
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I wonder if you could suggest any other 'anchor plants' for surrounding the Cassia??

I would hate to lose mine...

    Bookmark   August 8, 2004 at 11:59PM
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wilmington_islander(9A/Sunset 28)

Dwarf azaleas would work fine if it isn't in full sun all don't want the anchor plants getting too high and obstructing the cassia, IMHO.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2004 at 9:07AM
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I think a burgundy lorpetulum is just the ticket for this. They don't get too tall and the color would be very complementary to the cassia when it is in bloom.

I thought about knockout roses too. Since I have a couple of those and would have to buy the former, I bet the knockouts get first dibs at anchoring the cassia.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2004 at 1:28PM
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I planted 3 cassia bicapsularis this spring from 1gal size and they are already over 6'x6', I'm not sure if they will survive my winter though(zone 8b). Should I cut them back in the winter? Also some leaves are turning yellow, and suggestions?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 8:54PM
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I had a "scrambled egg tree" (Senna surattensis) at my old house in Boca Raton that went through Hurricane Wilma. It blew down to the ground and got thrashed all around, but as soon as the storm cleared I stood it up and provided support, and it's a beautiful tree today.

The tree to the left is the one that survived the hurricane. The one on the right is a seedling from the tree on the left.

This post was edited by TheTradition on Sat, Apr 13, 13 at 8:30

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 7:07PM
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