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.