4 steps to a healthy and strong redbud

4 steps to a healthy and strong redbud

Redbuds are beautiful trees that flower early in the spring and look great all season long. If you want a healthy and beautiful redbud in your garden, follow these steps.

1. Scout out the right site

  • For it to enjoy a long life, redbud needs moist, well-drained soil in a partly shaded site.
  • They’re often found along the edges of yards or near the corners of houses.

2. Pick the perfect variety

Several redbud colour variants are available. Here are some readily available variants:

  • Sometimes called whitebud, ‘Alba’ has pure white flowers. ‘Ruby Atkinson’ variants are pale pink. These types are often easier to blend into a spring garden colour scheme.
  • For a vivid statement, there’s ‘Flame’ and ‘Double Flame,’ both with magenta flowers.
  • ‘Forest Pansy’ has wine-red leaves.
  • Another native is western redbud, which is more drought tolerant and hardy to Zone 8.
  • Nurseries in hot, dry regions may also stock redbuds adapted to local conditions.
  • The European redbud, also called Judas tree, is slightly larger than the native redbud and hardy to Zone 7. The spring flowers are a darker shade of rose and the seedpods are purple.

3. Watch out for transplant shock

  • Redbuds have rangy roots that were not designed with transplanting in mind.
  • Redbud transplants best when small. Look for small balled-and-burlapped trees if you want to transplant.
  • To reduce transplant shock, look for container-grown plants when setting out larger redbuds.
  • Provide water to keep the soil barely moist the first season after transplanting.

4. Regularly check for diseases and pests

  • Young trees quickly grow into an open, irregular, vase-shape that requires no pruning.
  • As they age, redbuds may lean towards the most abundant light, which gives them an even more interesting shape.
  • Redbuds can slowly fall victim to several life-shortening diseases.
  • Trunk canker causes branches to die.
  • Verticillium wilt, a soil-borne fungal disease, causes parts of redbud trees to wilt and die.
  • Most elderly redbuds succumb to heartwood rot, dying from the inside out.
  • When a redbud more than 20 years old shows consistent signs of decline, you should make plans to plant a replacement tree nearby.

Many gardeners love redbuds for their beautiful foliage and early flowering. If you want to grow a healthy redbud, be sure to find a variety you love and to keep an eye out for disease. With the right maintenance, your redbud could be a fixture of your garden for years to come.


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