Will my Western Redbud grow more leaves this season?

Babka NorCal 9bMay 30, 2014

Hi- I usually hang out at the hosta forum, but for this question I need you Californians.

About a month ago, we planted a 15 gal. Western Redbud in a tree form, single trunk (6') and it promptly lost about 1/3 of its leaves...they turned yellow and fell off. I dug around and discovered that the rootball was bone dry even though it was getting a nice drink of water every 4 days from the sprinklers.At the nursery it had been on a drip system.

We remedied the problem by putting a temporary collar around the trunk close to the size of the can it had been in. I have been pouring a couple gallons slowly into the collared area every 4 days and making sure that the root ball is getting wet. No new yellow leaves and it appears to be happy.

I notice a lot of buds along the stems and I am wondering if I will be getting more leaves this summer. The tree is in Sunnyvale, full sun (Sunset zone 15)


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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

It is possible that the drought it experienced caused it to go back into a dormant state with the water finely arriving causing a second spring. Don't be surprised if it blooms again and starts leafing out as if it had not already done so. Planting from a 15 gallon container should also consist of scaring up the root ball to loosen it up and cut any circling roots. For the first few months the water needs to be applied directly on the root ball, as NO roots are in your native soil yet. Al

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 10:11AM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Thanks, Al. There were very few visible roots when we slid it out of the can, and we had to carefully hold it all together when setting in the hole. I think it might have only recently been up-potted into the 15 gal can.

I'll keep watching. We bought it after it had leafed out, so if it would throw out a few flowers this year it would be a special treat.


    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 2:04PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Mine would start losing foliage every June. We had six of them for twelve miserable years. And they reseeded everywhere. I am still pulling about a dozen seedlings a day three years after I cut them down. And roots went everywhere. They will head straight for your lawn. Then there was a borer that would kill off entire branches. G-d those were awful trees. Eastern is better. It will be better hopefully in your more northerly location. They were really at their prettiest in winter with no leaves and for the 2 or 3 weeks in spring with the pink flowers.

You are actually way better off buying one with a loose rootball than with one that is solidly packed in the can with roots wound around and around, if that is any consolation.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 9:45AM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Hoovb- Hmmmm, guess you weren't too happy with your redbuds... ;-) We had to select the western variety because of the existing oak root fungus in this location. It was my understanding that the eastern one might be susceptible. If it looks like crap in a couple years, thats it. We'll build a man-made "something" there to screen the neighbor's roof, chimney, the telephone poll and all the wires from our view.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 1:06PM
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I'm in sunset zone 24 in southern california, 2 miles from the beach. I've had a western redbud in the ground for at least a decade, if not longer. I wondered why every spring mine never bloomed profusely like it was blooming when we bought it from the inland nursery. Found out several years later they tend not to bloom much in locations close to the ocean because the coastal weather moderates the temperatures so much, and they seem to like the extremes of weather farther inland in order to thrive. This seems to be the case. A few years back when we had a colder than normal winter, it bloomed the best it ever has the following spring. I see Sunnyvale is also close to the ocean, so if blooming is important to you (the hummingbirds love it when it blooms) as a native tree, you might want to consider something else. As far as leaves are concerned, it should be fine. Don't overwater! You will probably have trunks come up from the base. I know on another garden forum, some people consider them pests or weeds. I think it's a lovely, small, multi-trunk native tree, as long as if you're on the coast, you don't expect it to bloom much.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 9:11PM
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Sorry, I just noticed your watering schedule. When planting a native tree, it's good to soak it until it nearly drowns when you first put it in, and then back off. Since it seems to be doing okay for now, I would gradually lengthen the time between waterings for a couple of months and then once it's established, don't water any more than every couple of weeks, unless you get a hot spell and it looks distressed. By next year, it should survive on rain only and never have to be watered.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 9:24PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Surfcitysocal- Thanks for the advice.

We aren't coastal ...there are some mountains in-between. We have more of an influence from the Bay here. Sunset zone 15.

It gets cold enough here to grow pitted fruits...apricots and plums, but warm enough to grow citrus. Silicon Valley.

I'm watching those buds on the branches that are s-l-o-w-l-y swelling, as Al predicted, to replace the 1/3 of the leaves that turned yellow and fell off.

It will get always get regular water here in our tiny tract lot. There is other stuff around it that needs regular water in summer.

I guess we'll see. It is in constant view from the fam room and kitchen, so if it goes south, it is outta here.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 10:43PM
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