tunnymowg(z6b Salt Lake)September 18, 2008

Hi all,

I am thinking about planting a white-flowered (eastern) redbud in my backyard to eventually replace a 60+ year old apricot that is in decline. I love the spare look and form of a mature redbud but I am worried about the seedpods. I know they can be considered ornamental and provide winter interest, but to me they just make the tree look cluttered and yucky if there are too many.

Looking at Google images of redbuds, I see a lot where the pods don't look prominent, and some others where they are almost literally covering the tree. What determines how abundantly they produce seed? I know it sounds extreme, but is it anything that could be controlled chemically? I suppose in a very heavy year I could just pick a lot of them off. I would think that a late freeze would take care of many of them, but that's not really something I could rely on.

I would appreciate hearing anyone's experiences with redbuds, good and bad. I have read that they tend to be short-lived here, so I am prepared for that. I've just always thought they are a beautiful tree.

Also I realize I would get more responses from the Trees forum, but you all are a much nicer group. :)

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emagineer(z5 CO)

I have not had good luck with redbuds. Love them and do see them in areas of Denver. A couple are planted in Cherry Creek shopping area next to a building (in a concrete planter) and about 15' high. This is really the only place I have even spotted one around CO.

Finally have one growing from a planted bareroot "stick" which was completely unexpected. It is 4' tall (2 yrs old) with huge leaves now. The first one to ever grow after attempting 5 gal red buds in the past.

And I'm not sure what variety of redbud you are asking about as I don't remember big pods on them. I think they are testy about soil and weather conditions though, as well as location of planting. Just got lucky this time if mine continues to flourish.

Guess I'm really not much help.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 9:22AM
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irisgirl(Z5 - CO)

I had trouble growing Redubds when I lived back east, where they are native! So I gave up and moved west (ha!). Anyway, you might try a Western Redbud. Similar "structure"; my stepmom had a beauty in her yard in Santa Fe.

I found a link that may help. Best wishes!

Here is a link that might be useful: Western Redbud.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 12:33AM
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foxes_garden(Z5, CO Front Range)

I've got a redbud on the east side of my house. From the landscaping records I believe it's more than fifteen years old. It was quite spectacular this year for flowers, and I'm noticing a large number of pods on it now. The previous year the flowers weren't very showy and I don't remember the pods at all. It kind of makes sense to me that these would go together... big flower years produce lots of 'fruit'.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 12:36PM
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tunnymowg(z6b Salt Lake)

Thanks for your responses. I am from back east originally too (Virginia), so that's probably why I have a thing for redbuds...not to mention azaleas but I'm not brave/crazy enough to try those!

I had heard that redbuds like acid soil...we had ours tested and the pH is just around 7.0 but hopefully it would do alright. I've seen several around Salt Lake but I'm not sure if they are Western or Eastern. I was tempted with a Western redbud because I'm sure they are hardier here and the smaller size would be a slightly better fit for the space, but I am stuck on white flowers which are absolutely gorgeous on a redbud, and only the Eastern comes in a white-blooming variety.

Beautiful tree, foxes. :-) Are the pods already brown now? And do they just drop off in the spring? I walked by three downtown last week and they had very few pods, so it does seem highly variable.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 1:48PM
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foxes_garden(Z5, CO Front Range)

The pods are still a light green right now, and hard to see unless you stand underneath the leaves. I'll keep you posted on what happens to them later this year. As I mentioned, I don't even remember noticing the pods last year.

(I'm dreading the explosion of small redbud trees I'll be picking out of my lawn next spring.)

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 3:51PM
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karin1(Scappoose, OR)

Last year I planted a redbud provided by the Arbor Association. It looked healthy, planted on the south side of our house, and seemed to have survived our unusually cold winter. As it has leafed out (no flowers this year),I have noticed mildew. Is this normal?
And, should I have had flowers this spring, or is it too young? Neighbors have older trees, and typical of an Oregon spring, the display was fabulous. Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 6:27PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi Karin,

Because our dry, low humidity climate here is so very different from your wet, high humidity one, I think you'll probably get better advice from more local people on the Northwestern Gardening Forum, linked below. It's not that you're not welcome here on Rocky Mountain Gardening, everybody's welcome, but I'm just not sure any advice you get here will be really helpful.

Just start a separate Redbud thread on that forum, and I bet you'll get lots of responses---with info that will actually be useful.

Thanks for stopping by,

Here is a link that might be useful: Northwestern Gardening

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 7:06PM
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terryincs(z5 IL)

I could only keep mine alive for 2 years. It's not doing anything yet so it may be dead. I took a chance :) I will give it another few weeks. A couple "trunks" might make it yet. Last year 2 died off but 4 made it (smaller diameter trunks). Mine is kind of a clumping tree. Good luck, but they are hard out here.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 9:57PM
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tunnymowg(z6b Salt Lake)

It's funny because this spring I've been paying more attention to what's blooming and I've seen lots and lots of redbuds around here, many of them pretty big and undoubtedly many years old. And they are definitely all single-trunk trees, so I'm assuming they're Eastern redbuds. I was at a big local nursery a few days ago and noticed they have quite a few of the white-flowered variety. Hooray! Think I may put one in this fall. *fingers crossed*

Now about half the branches on our apricot tree are dead. DH says "You didn't kill it, did you?" LOL...He's been hearing me talk for months about what I want to replace it with and thinks at the very least that my bad vibes have contributed to its slow death. ;-( I'm thinking it can't hurt to leave it up for a year or two to provide a little light shade for the redbud and another tree I'm going to put in that area - just while they get established. But it sure looks sad! :(

Good luck with your tree, Terry. Sounds like you have a Western redbud, which I guess is probably a little hardier for our climate.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 5:35AM
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jnfr(z5b CO)

You guys are lucky. Around my nabe, nearly all the flowering trees got squelched by those late snows. Very few flowering trees this year (though last year they were spectacular).

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 2:51PM
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foxes_garden(Z5, CO Front Range)

Our flowering trees, especially the crabapples, were really hammered this year. (I don't know if it was the early warm dry weather or the later snows that hurt more.) But the redbud surprised me by coming out quite nicely in the end.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 1:28PM
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