Cercis canadensis, the redbud tree or redbud tree, is a small and very attractive tree belonging to the Fabaceae family, which used to be called legumes. It is native to North America, distributed over a wide latitude. It grows in forest margins or sometimes under deciduous trees.
The redbud tree is an excellent choice for any garden, large or small. It has an elegant silhouette, extraordinary flowering and interesting foliage. It is also tolerant of growing conditions.
How to display the redbud tree?
The redbud tree can be grown in a sunny or semi-shaded situation in a fertile, deep, fresh and well-drained soil. It is not very tolerant of hot summers, excessive temperatures and drought. Eastern exposure is not recommended, too prone to spring frosts.
When to plant the redbud tree?
To buy bare root plants (rare), wait until November. In containers, they are available all year round. You can choose between stemmed and clumped forms and in almost any size.
Although a container tree can theoretically be planted all year round (except during periods of frost or excessive heat), it is best to plant your Judas tree in autumn when the soil is not yet too cold (October or November depending on the region). This is the best period for a good recovery and acclimatization.
Where to plant the redbud tree ?
You can plant a redbud tree in the ground more or less where you want, but always in a sunny place. Also, it will be necessary to shelter it from cold winds, in harsh climates, because its early flowering fears late frosts.
On the other hand, it is resistant to sea spray and pollution and can be grown by the sea or in the city.
Choose a place where the soil is well drained, if possible rather calcareous and dry. Avoid soils that are too acidic, as it grows better in rich soils.
Plant the redbud tree in the open ground, alone or in the company of other shrubs or in the background of perennial beds.
How to plant and cultivate the redbud tree ?
The redbud tree is tolerant of the nature of the soil, which it supports acidic or basic, normal to humid. However, its preference is for a fresh and drained soil, rich enough. If it supports the occasional droughts once well rooted, these cause stress to it, and a fragility to the fungal attacks.
This is why it prefers climates with summers without excess. The red gainier needs a sunny exposure at least half of the day. On the other hand, its early flowering is easily damaged by morning frosts. To limit this phenomenon, it is enough to find a place where it does not receive the rising sun. It is hardy to -20 °F.
The redbud tree is planted in autumn or spring until April, from a juvenile plant in pot. Indeed, it does not tolerate root disturbance very well and benefits from being transplanted in place as young as possible. During the first years, it will be watered as soon as it is a little dry to allow its installation.
Although it is capable of flowering early in its life, it may take several years to flower after transplanting. However, fertilizer applications in spring and late summer can help with flowering.
How to grow the redbud tree in a pot ?
It is possible to grow the redbud tree in a large container to decorate a terrace or a yard. Choose preferably the Little Woody variety, more compact and adapted to a culture in container.
Maintenance of the redbud tree
The plantation is done in autumn. Choose its location carefully, as it does not like to be moved.
The soil of your garden must be deep, light, fresh and well drained.
The exposure should be sunny, sheltered from strong winds and spring frosts to protect the flowering.
There is little maintenance required. The redbud tree is very hardy and tolerates winter temperatures of around -13°F. Once established, it is drought tolerant but does not tolerate air pollution.
During the first two years after planting, water it regularly and mulch the base in winter. Remove dead wood regularly.
Like all trees of the Fabaceae family (Leguminosae), it does not need fertilizer and is satisfied with a soil poor in organic matter which it even enriches with nitrogen thanks to the bacteria which live in symbiosis with its roots.
Pruning the redbud tree
When to prune the redbud tree ?
To limit the development of your tree, prune it after flowering between May and June.
For a training pruning, intervene rather in winter and before the blooming.
How to prune the redbud tree ?
The redbud tree has a naturally bushy and branched growth. To free up several main stems or to grow it as a single stem, regularly remove the new branches appearing on these stems.
Also remove intersecting branches and broken or dead branches from the branching, as long as it is young and of accessible size.
How to protect the redbud tree from the cold
The redbud tree is less cold than the Judas tree. In cold regions, for the first two years, protect only the roots of a young tree by placing a thick blanket of dead leaves. The following years, it is useless to protect it because it is very hardy.
Diseases, pests and parasites
The redbud tree is rather resistant to diseases and pests. However, it can suffer attacks of coral disease (disease due to fungi). It manifests itself by the appearance of small orange-coral pads and can, if it completely invades the tree, lead to its death.
The redbud tree can also be parasitized by tiny stinging and sap-sucking insects, the psyllids. They appear as early as June and cause the leaves to dry out, which weakens the tree. In addition, by causing the secretion of honeydew, their presence favors the appearance of fumagine (another fungus) which covers the affected parts with a black layer preventing photosynthesis.