Redbud Tree Planting and Care Instructions
The redbud tree heralds spring with its white or rose-pink blossoms, and its leaves are among the earliest to poke out of buds. A redbud or eastern redbud will flourish anywhere in your yard, from a spot aglow with sunshine all day, to an eastern corner that has shade in the afternoon. Follow these tips to plant and care for your redbud.
Step 1: Obtain Redbud Seeds to Propagate or Get a Nursery-Grown Sapling
Pick up seed pods in the fall from a redbud, release the seeds with care form their seed covers, wash them, and put them in the refrigerator with a little vermiculite until early spring. Plant them in small potting plants, then put in the ground after they root, about 6 weeks later.
When choosing a sapling, look for a tiny one, less than 2 feet tall. Redbuds grow fast and put down a solid tap root. Purchase one planted in a container, whose roots are already spread out, instead of one bound up in burlap, whose main root could be damaged.
Step 2: Plant the Seedlings or Sapling
Choose a location with any degree of light between full sun and partial shade. Redbuds prefer an eastern or northern exposure for most prolific blooming. For the seedlings, dig a deep hole, so the tap root can extend fully downward, in mixed sandy and loamy soil, with effective drainage.
Add a biostimulant designed for redbud trees, to help it resist fungus. Feed with a slow-formula fertilizer to add phosphorus and nitrogen. The seedlings will also benefit from a mycorrhizal treatment for root growth. Compress the soil firmly to support the new stem, and water.
For the sapling, make a broad hole about four times as wide as the root ball, so the root network can extend both sideways and down. Pack soil in gently, ensuring all air pockets are filled, and water to soak the soil. Provide the biostimulant recommended for the seedlings, using a soil drill.
Step 3: Care For and Maintain the Redbud Trees
Water redbud seedlings and saplings often during the first year, to help them get past the upheaval of transplantation.
Provide support for the small seedlings, by putting a coated wire cage or cardboard tube around the roots and crown where it rises above the soil surface. This will protect the weeds from digging animals like squirrels. Put an organic mulch around the root area, to retain soil moisture and deter weeds. Your redbud tree will reach an average height of 25 feet by the time it is mature. Its unpruned width will be about 15 to 20 feet. On average at 4 years old it will produce its first flowers, while at 7 to 8 years old, it will develop its first viable seeds.
Redbuds are a member of the pea family, and the seed pods look strikingly similar to snow peas. The mature redbud is a favorite of honeybees and small birds, and will add beauty and color to your garden or property line.