- Forest Pansy Tree Care – Tips On Growing A Forest Pansy Tree
- What are Forest Pansy Trees?
- Growing a Forest Pansy Tree
- Forest Pansy Tree Care
- Cercis canadensis – Forest Pansy
- Cercis Canadensis, Forest Pansy
- Forest Pansy are a spectacular new release small deciduous tree which is highly recommended by online plants.
- Provides a delightful contrast in smaller style gardens. Incredibly vibrant, bright pink flowers come onto the branches in early spring, making an awesome show. Then once the flowers are finished the gorgeous foliage comes through and quickly turns a deep purple color. The smaller, spreading style of this small tree makes it ideal for smaller size courtyards. Plant at the rear of a balcony planting with lower evergreens such as chinese star jasmine at the front.
- Gorgeous flowering Cercis Forest Pansy are one of our favorite’s. Brilliantly, vibrant deep pink flowers on purple, twisted limbs, prior to the leaves bursting make for an extraordinary, Spring display.
- This small deciduous tree about 5m x 5m is slow to moderate growing. It has large heart shaped purple leaves which appear in spring after the flowers and change to a brilliant yellow/orange for an autumn display. The flowers are not quite the typical blossom flower as they produce masses of pink pea-like flowers along the bare branches before the leaves set.
- Cercis Forest Pansy will really benefit from annual application of at least 10cm of organic mulch to within 2mt of the base of the plant. Prefers a moist, slightly sheltered position. If this isn’t possible, and planting into full sun, then Mulching is even more important. A well drained, friable soil is preferred.
- Very popular new release architectural plant. Used extensively in modern landscaping.
- Will benefit from feeding twice per year with a complete plant food and liquid fertilizer, and the application of an organic mulch. For further inquiries please use our free garden design service or email: Available for fast delivery to your door in all Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Canberra and Brisbane, metropolitan and regional areas.
- Mature Height/Spread
- Growth Rate
- Ornamental Features
- Landscape Use
- Upright Cultivars & Varieties
- Weeping Cultivars
- Related Species
- Forest Pansy Redbud
- The Rising Sun™ Redbud Tree
- Shines like a Beacon in Your Landscape
- Planting & Care
Forest Pansy Tree Care – Tips On Growing A Forest Pansy Tree
Forest Pansy trees are a type of eastern redbud. The tree (Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’) gets its name from the attractive, pansy-like flowers that appear in spring. Read on for more information about the Forest Pansy redbud, including Forest Pansy tree care.
What are Forest Pansy Trees?
These are lovely small trees that work well in gardens and backyards. Forest Pansy redbuds offer lovely, shiny heart-shaped leaves that grow in purple-red. As they mature, they deepen to maroon.
The chief attraction of the trees, however, are the brightly colored flower blossoms that fill their canopies in early spring. These rose-purple, pea-like flowers are especially noticeable because they appear before the leaves emerge, not like that of other redbuds.
In time, the flowers evolve into seed pods. They are
flat, some 2-4 inches long and resemble snow peas.
Growing a Forest Pansy Tree
Forest Pansy redbud trees are native to eastern and central North America. They grow well in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 8.
If you are thinking of growing a Forest Pansy tree, you need to know how large the tree will become when mature. It usually grows to about 20-30 feet tall and the horizontal branches spread some 25 feet wide.
When you start growing a Forest Pansy tree, you should choose its planting location with care. Forest Pansy redbuds do not transplant well, so be sure to place them appropriately.
These trees thrive in moderately fertile, well-drained soil. Pick a spot in partial shade if your summers are hot, in sunny locations if your summers are mild. A Forest Pansy redbud will grow in either sun or part shade.
Forest Pansy Tree Care
Irrigation is a key to Forest Pansy tree care. The tree does best in soil that gets regular, consistent moisture, although it is known to be drought resistant once its root system is established. It will decline in wet soil.
The Forest Pansy redbud is a low-maintenance tree that requires little care. It is not invasive and it tolerates deer, clay soil and drought. Hummingbirdsare attracted to its flowers.
Cercis canadensis – Forest Pansy
Cercis canadensis – Forest Pansy
*height & width at maturity
FOLIAGE: Deep reddish purple, heart shaped leaves changing to deep purplish-black.
FLOWERS: Small rose pink pea-like flowers.
DESCRIPTION: An attractive small to medium sized deciduous tree of rounded shape. Small rose pink, pea-like flowers, form in clusters on the bare branches in Spring. Smooth heart shaped deep reddish purple leaves changing to deep purplish-black follow, along with ornamental seed pods.
LANDSCAPE USES: The Forest Pansy is a stunning feature tree, being a welcome addition to any garden for the brilliant colors in the foliage. Excellent choice for small or large gardens.
TOLERANCES: Plant in full sun or part shade in well drained soil. Frost hardy. The Forest Pansy is not a wind tolerant tree, therefore it will need to be planted in a protected position.
TREE CARE: Plant in a well drained and well worked soil. Take care to plant the bud union above the soil level. Water in well and keep soil moist until tree is established. Fertilize when planting and again after new growth appears. Prune tree when planting to encourage new growth.
Cercis Canadensis, Forest Pansy
Gorgeous flowering Cercis Forest Pansy are one of our favorite’s. Brilliantly, vibrant deep pink flowers on purple, twisted limbs, prior to the leaves bursting make for an extraordinary, Spring display.
Very popular new release architectural plant. Used extensively in modern landscaping.
Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ (Purple-leaved Eastern Redbud) – A deciduous tree that grows 15 to 20 feet tall by with an equal spread. From late winter to early spring, the splendid, rose-pink blossoms cover the bare branches for a beautiful floral display. Graceful, heart-shaped leaves are 4-8 inches long and 2-4 inches wide, arranged in an alternate pattern along the branches. New growth emerges deep purple and matures to a bronze-green – the showy fall color is yellow. The bark is thin and easily damaged from mechanical impact such as mowers and trimmers. It typically has an irregular growth habit when young but forms a graceful, flat-topped, vase shape as it gets older. The tree usually branches low on the trunk, and if left intact forms a graceful multitrunked specimen. Requires selective pruning at an early age to develop a strong branch structure. Plant in full sun to light shade, best growth occurs in a light, rich, moist soil. This plant adapts fairly well to a variety of soils, including sandy, clay, alkaline or acidic, occasionally wet but most importantly well drained. Trees look better when they receive some irrigation in summer. Cold hardy to about Cercis ‘Merlot’ because it requires less irrigation and has better color late season. The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery’s garden and in other gardens that we have observed it in. We also will incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that might aid others in growing Cercis ‘Forest Pansy’.
Eastern redbud tree (Cercis canadensis)
Photo by Joey Williamson, ©2012 HGIC, Clemson Extension
Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis), also called Judas tree, is an outstanding, deciduous ornamental tree in South Carolina. This is a small tree native to the eastern United States and Canada, with lavender-pink blossoms that open early in spring and are as colorful as any flowering spring tree in the landscape. It is adapted to all areas of South Carolina.
Redbuds always remain small, maturing at 20 to 30 feet in height and 15 to 35 feet in width. They generally grow as a small tree with a divided trunk close to the ground. The spreading crown is usually rounded to flat-topped. It can develop as a multi-trunk shrub. Redbuds growing in the sun will be compact and rounded; when grown in shade, their form is loose, open and tall.
Redbuds grow at a moderate rate, about 7 to 10 feet in five to six years. They tend to be short-lived, often declining from disease after about 20 years.
The most appealing feature of this tree is the showy flower, which is magenta in bud, but opens to lavender-pink before the leaves emerge early in spring. The flowers appear in clusters that nearly cover the bare branches of the tree. They remain for two to three weeks. They usually appear in early spring after the
Eastern redbud flowers (Cercis canadensis).
Photo by Joey Williamson, ©2012 HGIC, Clemson Extension
white flowers of serviceberry and wild plum and before (and during) the white and pink flowers of the flowering dogwood. Although the flower of the species is lavender-pink, certain varieties and cultivars have white, magenta-pink or rosy pink flowers. The heart-shaped leaves are reddish as they emerge, and gradually turn dark green in summer. The fall color is yellow.
Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud) and its cultivars are from warmer parts of the Southwest. These all have similar flowers, but thicker leaves and more heat tolerance. However, they are less cold hardy than the straight species of Eastern redbud (C. canadensis).
The fruit are long, flat pods (3 inches) which are produced from late summer into fall, and remain on the tree during winter. They become conspicuous in the fall when the leaves drop, and can sometimes be unsightly when mature.
Eastern redbud seed pods (Cercis canadensis).
Photo by Joey Williamson, ©2012 HGIC, Clemson Extension
This tree is best used in naturalized areas, where the flowers are contrasted against evergreens or woodlands. It can be used as a specimen or in groupings in a shrub border.
Although the redbud does well in most soil types, it prefers moist, well-drained sites. It does not, however, like those that are permanently wet. It tolerates acid or alkaline soils. It grows well in full sun but prefers some shade in the heat of summer. Although it will grow in fairly dense shade, it blooms more heavily when exposed to sun. Redbuds tolerate moderate dry spells, but do better when irrigated in summer dry spells.
Transplant when very small, as they have difficulty surviving, transplant after the root system has developed.
As redbud is native to such a wide range of climates, it is important that you purchase a tree that was grown from locally harvested seed. Trees grown from seed collected from trees native to South Carolina will adapt to our climate. If the seed were collected from trees grown in the north, the tree may not withstand the heat of our summer.
When located near a walkway or patio, low branches must be pruned for clearance beneath the canopy. It can be trained to grow with a single or multiple trunks. Prune out dead branches.
Redbuds are very susceptible to Botryosphaeria canker and dieback on the branches. This is a fungal disease that enters twigs and branches, feeds on the living tissue below the bark, and spreads around the stem. Once it encircles the branch, the water supply beyond that point is cut off to the leaves. The branch will suddenly wilt and die. Redbuds that are under drought stress will more easily succumb to Botryosphaeria canker than a well-watered tree.
Apply mulch out as far as the drip line of the limbs. Mulch will keep the soil cooler and more evenly moist in the summer. Pruning out the diseased branches and disposing of the cuttings will significantly help to reduce disease. Prune when the stems and foliage are dry. Cut the stem 6-8” below where any sunken, cracked or diseased area is, and disinfest the pruners between cuts with a spray of rubbing alcohol on the pruners. Water the plants well weekly. Fertilize them during the spring at six- week intervals with a slow-release tree & shrub fertilizer.
Wounds created by pruning or mechanical injury serve as entry points for the fungus that infects the wood and causes cankers. Avoid wounding to minimize susceptibility to this disease. There are no fungicides to control Botryosphaeria canker.
Insects such as granulate ambrosia beetle, black twig borer, treehoppers, caterpillars, scales and leafhoppers can also cause damage.
Upright Cultivars & Varieties
- ‘Forest Pansy’ (PP#22,297) ̶ This is one of the earliest and most popular cultivars. It has deep burgundy foliage that loses its intense color in the heat of summer, becoming almost bronze Flowers are more rose purple than the species and open a little later. From NCSU).
- ‘Merlot’ (PP#22,297) – Semi-upright habit with deep wine-red, thick foliage and heat tolerance. A hybrid of ‘Forest Pansy’ (purple foliage) and ‘Texas White’ (var. texensis). Cultivar has a dense, semi-upright habit and magenta-pink blooms. Cultivar grows to 12 to 15 feet tall and wide. Flowers are lavender-pink. Released by NCSU. Retention of purple leaf color in summer is similar to ‘Forest Pansy’.
- ‘Ace of Hearts’ (PP#17,161) – Similar to species except flower color is much pinker. A compact tree that grows to 12 feet tall.
- ‘Hearts of Gold’ (PP#17,740) ̶ Spring foliage is intense golden-yellow and gradually changes to chartreuses as the summer advances. More golden foliage in full sun. Grows to 15 feet tall with a vase-shaped habit. Cultivar has reddish-purple flowers; seedpods are rarely produced.
- Carolina Sweetheart™ (‘NCCC1’; PP#27,712) – Following the pink flowers of spring, the foliage of this cultivar emerges rich maroon, and slowly change to shades of white, green, and hot pink. All leaves eventually turn green in summer with dusted white margins. Grows to 20 to 30 feet tall and 25 to 30 feet wide. From NCSU.
- ‘Pink Pom Poms’ (PP#27,630) – This double flowered redbud is a hybrid of the double flowered ‘Flame’ Eastern redbud and ‘Oklahoma’ Texas redbud. The resulting cross has thick, glossy green foliage and dark pink-purple, double pom pom-like flowers. The cultivar is also sterile, so no seedpods are made.
- The Rising Sun™ (‘JN2’; PP#21,451) – Foliage emerges rosy apricot, turns apricot-peach, gradually becomes golden yellow, and finally matures a bright green. Cultivar grows to 8 to 12 feet tall with a 12- to 15-foot spread. Flowers are pinkish purple.
- ‘Alley Cat’ (PPAF) – Its leaves are green with white variegation. Grows to 20 feet tall and wide. Foliage is scorch resistant and does not revert to green. A selection from Kentucky.
- ‘Appalachian Red’ Blooms are fuchsia-pink to red. Cultivar grows to 15 to 20 feet tall and wide. Very floriferous and blooms later than most other cultivars. A University of Tennessee release.
- form alba – This is a white-flowered form that occurs somewhat frequently in nature. The foliage is a lighter green than the species and new growth is yellow-green. Comes true to type from seed if isolated from cross-pollination by the pink-flowered redbuds. Grows to 15 to 25 feet tall and wide.
- ‘Royal White’ ̶ This cultivar has larger and more abundant flowers and a more compact form than the naturally occurring white form alba. Introduced by University of Illinois.
- texensis ‘Texas White’ ̶ Glossy thick leaves and white flowers. Grows to 15 to 20 feet tall and may have multiple trunks. Cold hardy to USDA zone 6.
- var. texensis ‘Oklahoma’ – Glossy thick leaves and lavender-pink flowers. Grows to 15 to 20 feet tall and may have multiple trunks. Cold hardy to USDA zone 6.
New reddish-purple foliage on ‘Forest Pansy’ redbud (Cercis canadensis). Photo by Joey Williamson, ©2012 HGIC, Clemson Extension
Purple-leafed ‘Merlot’ redbud (Cercis x ‘Merlot’). Photo by Dennis Werner, ©2013 NC State University
‘Merlot’ redbud (Cercis x ‘Merlot’) in bloom. Photo by Dennis Werner, ©2013 NC State University
‘Ace of Hearts’ redbud (Cercis canadensis) in bloom. Photo by Joey Williamson, ©2013 HGIC, Clemson Extension
‘Ace of Hearts’ (Cercis canadensis) redbud flowers. Photo by Joey Williamson, ©2013 HGIC, Clemson Extension
‘Hearts of Gold’ redbud (Cercis canadensis) showing chartreuse foliage. Photo by Karen Russ, ©2010 HGIC, Clemson Extension
Carolina Sweetheart™ redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘NCCC1’) has foliar variegation with various shades of white, green, and hot pink. Photo by Tom Ranney, ©2016 NC State University
‘Pink Pom Poms’ redbud (Cercis x ‘Pink Pom Poms’) is an improved redbud with ull double blooms. Dennis Werner, ©2016 NC State University
White-flowered redbud (Cercis canadensis var. alba). Photo by Karen Russ, ©2010 HGIC, Clemson Extension
- texensis ‘Traveler’ – A selection with a broad mound shape and weeping (gracefully arching) branches. New leaves emerge coppery green, then become dark and glossy green; flowers are lavender-pink. Grows to 5 feet tall and 5 to 12 feet wide. Fruit set has not been observed.
- ‘Covey’ (Lavender Twist™; PP#10,328) ̶ A weeping form with arching branches that creates an umbrella-shaped crown. Leaves are a rich green, and fall color is golden yellow. Grows to 5 to 6 feet tall with a 6- to 8-foot spread.
- ‘Ruby Falls’ (PP#22,097) – Has a unique combination of dwarf, weeping growth habit and purple foliage. A hybrid of ‘Covey’ (weeping habit) and ‘Forest Pansy’ (purple foliage). By mid-summer, leaves change to a bronzy green. This compact weeping selection grows to 6 to 8 feet tall with a 5- to 6-foot spread. Released by NCSU.
- Whitewater (‘NC2007-8’; PP#23,998) ̶ Leaves emerge mostly white, then become variegated white and green, and plant has a weeping growth habit. A hybrid of ‘Silver Cloud’ (variegated foliage) and ‘Covey’ (weeping habit). Flowers are a deep rose-purple. Cultivar grows to 8 feet tall with a 6-foot spread.
- ‘Pink Heartbreaker®’ (PP#23,043) – This cultivar has a weeping habit and green foliage. Grows to 8 to 10 feet tall with a 10 to 15 foot spread. Profuse lavender-pink flowers. Introduced in Pennsylvania. Limited seed pod production.
- Vanilla Twist™ (PP#22,744) – Weeping habit with green foliage and white flowers. A hybrid between ‘Royal White’ (white flowers) and ‘Covey’ (weeping habit). Grows to 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Grows to 12 feet tall with an 8-foot spread.
‘Whitewater’ redbud (Cercis canadensis) with weeping growth habit and variegated foliage. Photo by Dennis Werner, ©2013 NC State University
‘Traveler’ weeping redbud (Cercis canadensis var. texensis) Photo by Joey Williamson, ©2012 HGIC, Clemson Extension
‘Lavender Twist’ weeping redbud (Cercis canadensis). Photo by Joey Williamson, ©2012 HGIC, Clemson Extension
‘Ruby Falls’ (Cercis x ‘Ruby Falls’) weeping redbud with purple foliage. Photo by Dennis Werner, ©2013 NC State University
- Chinese redbud (C. chinensis) ̶ This is a small, multi-stemmed shrub that grows 6 to 8 feet tall and wide. Its rosy purple flowers are showier and more profuse than Eastern Redbud. Leaves are also thicker.
- Giant redbud (C. gigantea) – From China. Foliage is glossy and dark green. Leaves are 6 to 8 inches across. Grows to 15 to 20 feet tall.
Chinese redbud (Cercis chinensis) in bloom. Photo by Joey Williamson, ©2011 HGIC, Clemson Extension
Giant redbud (Cercis gigantea) in bloom. Photo by Joey Williamson, ©2012 HGIC, Clemson Extension
Note: Chemical control of diseases and insects on large trees is usually not feasible since adequate coverage of the foliage with a pesticide cannot be achieved.
Forest Pansy Redbud
What a perfect name for an excellent tree! Early spring flowers and fall colors are the hallmark of the Forest Pansy Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’).
You’ll be thrilled to begin your growing season with a blast of electric red purple flowers. The flower display can last for weeks long for you to enjoy. Think about it! Weeks of blooms to end the dreary winter season.
This hardy native tree is related to the Eastern Redbud. The common name of Redbud comes from those small reddish purple buds that grow along the stems, bringing the plant to life after winter. Forest Pansy is a cultivar of the wildly popular Redbud tree. This variety has the stellar qualities of the original, but the leaves are a more intensely red-purple hue.
You’ll know spring has arrived when your Redbud blooms. While much of your landscape still lies dormant, Forest Pansy Redbud will be covered with a profusion of flowering clusters. Early butterflies really appreciate this native nectar source.
The bright flowers are almost fluorescent when they bloom all along the smooth gray branches before any leaves emerge. You’ll be amazed by how they seem to emerge directly from the woody bark. You’ll get to really enjoy the wonderful presentation of rosy-pink flowers.
The color is darkest at the start, and as they age, they’ll finish to pink just as the foliage begins to unfurl. Snip a few of the fragrant blossoms to bring a little of that spring excitement indoors!
Let’s talk about those leaves. The tiny leaves grow into deep, shiny, leathery looking purple colored, heart-shaped leaves. What a special gift to give someone you love!
The shiny red-purple color of the new foliage darkens to an incredible maroon. As the season progresses, the dark, leathery, purple leaves will pick up a slight green overcast, yet still hold on to the overall purple color. It’s a strikingly modern display that works so well with all the vibrant perennials and shrubs available now.
The heart-shaped leaves introduce the next dramatic foliage color display in fall. Autumn arrives with the same intensity as spring, as your Redbud’s leaves transform to a profusion of reds, purples, and yellows.
This native accent tree has it all: spring, summer and fall color in one easy-to-care for ornamental tree. Order today!
How to Use Forest Pansy Redbud in the Landscape
This makes a spectacular spring accent tree near your home’s entrance or along a walkway or patio. Be sure to site it where you can see it from a window to maximize its positive impact for you. You’ll love seeing those blooms, even on a cool day in early spring.
Give it room to reach its mature height and arching spread. The spread of the wide, flat canopy is graceful and impactful. This makes it a perfect choice for use anchoring a garden bed.
Hang birdhouses on the lower branches and place feeders nearby. Use it to highlight a really special garden sculpture. Place a low-slung hammock, a magnificent large rock, or a child’s garden table and chair underneath it.
It will work beautifully in naturalized landscapes in informal groups. For this application, it looks best to choose an odd number of trees. 3, 5 or 7 planted in a gentle curve in an island garden bed make a spectacular “vista” or view from a deck. Use them to give precious sense of open, airy privacy near your patio.
They will look so beautiful planted at the edge of the woods. After all, that’s where you’d find them in nature! Make sure they receive sun for the best foliage color.
How about Forest Pansy Redbud used as a perfect single specimen plant? Its beautiful form and lovely ornamental features would be a welcome addition just about anywhere. Create a special retreat or Meditation Garden to gift yourself with time “communing” with this special tree. This would be a successful focal point in an Asian-inspired Japanese Garden, as well.
#ProPlantTips for Care
Overall, this Redbud is easy to care and tolerates many different soil conditions. However, all Redbud will enjoy careful watering as the roots are getting established. While they are relatively drought-tolerant after they are established, you’ll want to provide additional water as needed during the extreme drought.
They love well-drained soil, so don’t plant these too deep. Instead, make sure they grow at the same soil level they grew in at the nursery. If you have heavy clay soil, it’s better to “plant high” and mulch over their roots.
Mulch keeps the soil evenly moist and keeps the weeds at bay. Be careful not to put any mulch up against the trunk.
We highly recommend Nature Hills Root Booster placed in the bottom of the planting hole. This solution helps roots grow quickly into the native soil.
Prune to “limb up” old wood as needed to keep the lines clean and the interior of the plant nice and open for great air circulation.
What a wonderfully ornamental native tree. You’ll cherish this choice! Order yours today.
The Rising Sun™ Redbud Tree
Shines like a Beacon in Your Landscape
– Beautiful fuchsia colored blooms
– Vivid, green and golden foliage lights up gardens and landscapes
– Durable, hardy specimen tolerates heat, drought and cold
– Full rounded, vigorous grower that attracts butterflies
– Considered the best gold leaf tree available
Foliage as Lovely as its Blooms
It’s not often a shrub’s foliage can give its flowers a run for their money. But the Rising Sun Redbud does just that and more. In fact, from a short distance, the mix of golden and green leaves look like blooms themselves. The sturdy branches hoist tons of large, heart-shaped leaves that almost appear pinned onto the tree in layers. It’s a vision of beauty you won’t find anywhere else. Aptly named, the Redbud’s leaves start out a golden yellow, giving way to a peach hue. As the tree’s foliage begins to turn red, each leaf takes on the look of a morning sun rising among a green and golden sky. It’s a sight that will add luster and warmth to any spot you choose throughout the landscape. With a maximum height of 12 feet, the Rising Sun is large enough for all to admire, yet works well in a number of planting locations
Oh yes, the Flowers are Gorgeous, too!
Before the sun ever rises on your tree, the Redbud’s flowers will emerge with vibrant color throughout the branches. The show begins early in the spring as waves of pea-like, fuchsia blooms pour onto the tree. Devoid of leaves, the dark lavender flowers stand out magnificently. Once the foliage arrives, the color scheme lasts well into the fall when the leaves turn an incredible orange. It’s no wonder so many butterflies will float in for a closer look.
With so much beauty to behold throughout the seasons, the Rising Sun Redbud will brighten your garden or landscape for many years to come. Order yours today.
Planting & Care
Choosing a location: The Redbud tree (or “Judas tree”) is a lovely harbinger of spring and has been referred to as “a breath of fresh air after a long winter.” What makes the redbud so special is its gift of spring color and its hardy adaptability. The purple pink flowers of the eastern redbud appear all over the tree in early spring and are even produced on the larger trunks. They do well in locations with full sun to partial shade (afternoon shade is best). A soil pH of about 7.5 is recommended as well as well draining soil. Avoid planting in areas that are prone to flooding or that collect standing water.
1) Select a site 6 to 8 feet from existing structures and about 3 feet from fences. Clear a 4 to 5 foot radius of any competing plants, weeds or grass.
2) Redbud roots establish quicker in loosened, aerated soil so spread about 4 inches of compost over the planting site to improve drainage and the soil texture. After digging your planting hole blend compost into the soil to around 1 foot deep and 3 feet in diameter using a shovel and/or spade fork.
3) Dig a planting hole for the redbud twice as wide as the diameter and as deep as the depth of the root ball. Rub the root system to loosen the outer roots. Fill the hole halfway with the removed soil and top it off with water. Fill it in the rest of the way and water again to settle the soil, using a total of about 15 gallons of water.
4) Spread 3 to 4 inches of mulch over the planting site but be sure it’s about 4 inches away from the base of the trunk to prevent fungus and rot. Mulch conserves water in the soil, adds nutrients as it breaks down and aids in weed prevention.
Watering: Watering a newly planted tree depends on things like the amount of rainfall you get in your area, temperatures and what season it is. When trees are newly planted their watering requirements are high but take care, root growth is slow in soil that is too wet or too dry. During the first year make sure to water your tree often enough to keep its soil moist yet not soaked. Pay close attention to your tree during the dry season, so that you can ensure that it receives enough water. Water later in the evening after the heat of the day has subsided. This way, the water will not evaporate immediately and the roots have a good chance at absorbing the moisture.
Pruning: To shape future growth, pruning redbud trees while they’re young is a must. Another reason to prune is to strengthen the connections of the main leaders to the trunk. Pruning helps form U-shaped junctions so the primary limbs can support leaves and flowers. Prune the tree in early summer after the tree is done blooming. Begin by removing any larger lower branches and branches that cross over each other or rub together. Cut off the branches close to the trunk without leaving any stubs. Stubs allow an entrance for disease and pests to enter. If several branches need to be removed, do it over a course of months so that the tree doesn’t go into shock of losing so much of its growth. In late winter, prune any dead and diseased wood. Cut out any tiny twigs and branches that have turned brown. Also, cut off any shoots that are coming up from the bottom or out of the trunk.
*Tip: Sterilize your pruning tools with a basic household rubbing alcohol to ensure a healthy cut during pruning.
Fertilizing: In early spring you can apply some compost and/or a complete fertilizer such as 5-10-5 in *granular form. Spread evenly around the root zone of the plant according to the label instructions. This combined with maintaining several inches of organic mulch year round should be sufficient to feed the soil and keep the tree healthy.
*Granular (or dry fertilizer) is a type of fertilizer, which comes in a dry pelleted form as opposed to spikes, a liquid, or powder.
Early settlers found the blossoms of the redbud a delicious addition to their salads. Early folk healers used the bark to treat common maladies and sometimes even leukemia. Many Native Americans chose the wood of the California redbud for constructing their bows. The sheer springtime beauty of the redbud may be its greatest hold on the American spirit and a wonderful addition of color to any landscape.
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