Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus) A,F,W

         likes bright light, good air ciculation and consistent moisture; begin with fertilizing one to two weeks prior to repotting in order to fortify the tree for the rigors of the repotting, at the same time prune and wire the tree; repot and root prune in hottest part of summer (at least a month or month and a half more of warm nights and long days with lots of light aids strong root growth), remove twice as much top as root; be careful removing tree from the pot as the weight of soil can break the very fragile roots off at the base of the trunk; Malathion® or Diazinon® will defoliate within one week: if leaves drop, keep caring for — can take quite a while to bounce back; try keeping in a water tray similar to caring for Bald Cypress ; as new leaves develop let them grow out to about five pairs of leaves, then cut off the three end leaves including the apex; never leave the apex on, unless you want the branch to get longer and fatter before developing secondary branches; always prune all branches — any branches left uncut will divert energy from the rest of the tree, thereby growing faster at the expense of the pruned branches; to prune for thicker and more tapered branches, cut all the leaves off and leave the apex on; the rounder the leaf of the specimen, the better the leaf size reduces; to develop more tightly packed leaves cut them severely, cutting the petiole halfway between the branch and the leaf is the most effective method; unless the tree is weak, never leave a portion of the leaves on; do NOT do too much defoliation or branch removal late in the season — a tree that was recently severely worked on is very susceptible to cold damage or death; sometimes these will “pout” in cool winters by wilting: before giving extra water be sure they really do need it; the same trees that “pout” in winter may also “pout” in summer heat; said to do better in winter if pot is positioned on top of a horticultural heating pad or propagation mat; copper wire has possible toxic effects on buttonwoods, especially if it cuts into the bark when left on too long; large trunks and branches will sprout roots if placed in a bucket of water in full sun, somewhere between a few weeks and many months new roots will emerge — even branches broken or cut off and dying trees can be revived this way.    [Combretaceae; Myrtales]