In early spring, before it's leaves form, most varieties of the redbud tree are awash in blossoms. As the tree ages, blooms will even pop from the main trunk. Pruning will control this growth for the tree's overall health.
Why Prune A Redbud?
Pruning redbud trees in their early years is a must to shape future growth. Otherwise, at maturity you will have an Eastern redbud, Forest Pansy or Alba Redbud that is nearly as broad as it is tall. Another reason to prune is to strengthen the connections of the main leaders to the trunk. Narrowly angled V-shaped branch crotches, unable to support the weight of thick branches, will snap off in the first high wind. Pruning helps form U-shaped junctions, so the primary limbs can support boughs, leaves, flowers, and seed pods. Finally, if the redbud becomes afflicted with verticillium wilt or other diseases, dead and dying branches must be pruned back for the tree to survive.
When to Prune
Prune redbuds after flowering, before the leaf buds completely form. Early spring is best, mid-April at the latest. Dead branches should be lopped in late winter while the tree is dormant.