redbud tree not blooming

dmaw65April 30, 2008

I have a redbud tree that I planted as one small twig. It has been growing now for about 7 years and is about 5 ft. high. It gets leaves every spring but it has never gotten any flowers. What are some reasons that a redbud may not be flowering?

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Can you post a picture? My gut reaction is that it isn't a redbud! Redbuds have faster growth than you describe and flower from a young age. A picture will solve that question.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 3:31PM
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Does it get enough sun? Redbuds probably want about 5 hours of sun to bloom.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 4:23PM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

I have that same tree. Let me guess, you got it free from Arbor Day Foundation. I think its a cultivar or a related species, because it does have the right leaves. It just doesn't get red buds. But now that the tree is larger, I can tell the bark isn't right either. I am cutting my down and getting a real one.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 8:15AM
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Someone gave me a redbud that was probably two years old and I transplanted it about two years ago and it has just bloomed for the first time. Maybe some really are "late bloomers". BTW, I have not had good luck with trees from Arbor Day. The trees I have gotten from quality commercial growers like Musser Forests and Ernst Conservation Seeds have tended to do much better.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 2:56PM
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Yes, my oldest son did get it free from school which they got from Arbor Day. I'll keep this one as my son thinks of it as his tree but I'll go to a local nursery and purchase a "real" Red Bud from there. Thanks for all of the helpful tips.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 9:19PM
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Flowerkitty(Z6 or Z5 SE MI)

We bought our house in 2003. A small shoulder high redbud seedling (never transplanted) is now two feet higher and blooming. Two year seedlings I transplanted last year are not blooming yet at three feet tall. Someone told me it takes some years to get established before they bloom.

All my redbuds are in the shade of taller trees. They do not like to get dry

I would not pull them out, but give them time, which for trees means years.

The seedlings I am cultivating are well worth the wait because the trees in my yard look much nicer than nursery trees, with large heart shaped leaves and beautiful arched branches that touch the ground.

In my yard no seedling shorter than me has bloomed

A tree may need a certain root development before it starts to bloom. Someone on gardenweb mentioned that planting larger nursery grown trees may give a larger tree to start but they spend several years rebuilding root connections often with little growth above ground

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 5:46AM
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Many of the nursery stock trees are root bound and need to have all of the soil removed and the roots teased out of the ball. You may need to cut some of the roots. You may find interesting the current method of planting where you remove the dirt down to the top root and plant that root just under the surface.

There is a Forrest Pansy redbud that I have fallen in love with. I have seen it with two different flower colors, white and normal. But after the bloom the leaves as the emerge are a wine edged color. The first on I saw, August, maintained the color but I have been told that this is not normal with most of this type. Also they are not as hardy as the normal ones.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 10:28PM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

The arbor day trees come as whips, so root bounding is not an issue.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 12:22PM
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The OP said the tree has been in the ground for seven years...assuming there is no neglect or disease, root development shouldn't be an issue. And I have seen plenty of redbuds under 5' blooming...they just aren't as showy because of their smaller stature. I think maybe joe put his finger on the culprit--a weird Arbor Day cultivar.

Any "redbud" I had in the ground for seven years had better be blooming its head off! Patience is one thing--no rewards for said patience and time/effort is another.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 6:02PM
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led_zep_rules(5 WI)

I got a redbud tree about 20 years ago from the National Arbor Foundation, along with nine other trees. I planted them next to my townhouse, planning to move them in a couple years when I bought a house with more land. Foolish me, that redbud twig got 6 feet tall in a few years.

I dug and dug, and hit my head hard twice on the overhang part of the house that it was under. I got quite desperate, pulled and dug and dug and pulled. Managed to break off not one but two key hunks of root. Was determined to keep the tree alive, and I STAPLED and TAPED the two root sections back on. They were significant enough that I knew the tree was a goner without them.

Planted the tree in front of my new house. A year or so later I dug down into the dirt a little. The broken off roots had regrown on. I removed the tape around the tree so it wouldn't strangle itself, the staples had been grown over or through. It did bloom for me shortly thereafter and ever after, although I have since moved again. My old neighbor reports that the redbud is really lovely this spring.

I planted some other redbud trees in that yard and was very angry when one was snipped off. It was so cleanly cut it looked like a person with a clipper had done it, but hubby said it was a rabbit. But because it was eaten down it came up with many new trunks, so then I had a multibranching redbud which was even more blooming and lovely than the normal tree shaped ones. So the moral of my story is you can do anything to a redbud and it will come through for you!


    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 2:10AM
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I have a Redbud Lavender Twist weeper, it just turned 3 and has really started spreading, wondered what is correct way to stake it? The branches are very wavy, just don't know how to support so they grow upwards, they are spreading on the ground like a grape vine.... Help would be appreciated!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 12:52AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

For squiggly shrubs that I want to get upright, I drive a rebar into the ground, near the center of the shrub. (You can get a 6' or 8' reinforcing steel bar at almost any hardware store.) Drive it 2' to 4' into the ground. And then you can selectively tie the branches to it. The rebar should be practically invisible, unless you point it out to someone.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 2:59PM
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Thank You, joepyeweed I give it a try! Its growing like wid fire only 3 yrs old lol, it just started to take off this year, looks like a grape vine, must like my soil! Thanks Again.....

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 11:31AM
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Too much water, too much fertilizer or too little light can cause flowering trees not to bloom. Also, trees planted from small bare-root trees need five or eight years to produce flowers.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 12:03PM
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Redbuds need pretty much full sun to bloom well, and usually 5-7 years of age to bloom, as do dogwoods and most other flowering trees. I have one in the woods in a shady area that got over 10' tall before it finally bloomed, as it was reaching for the sun. Now it is about 15' tall and blooms well. Others in my yard that get more sun have bloomed at about 6-8'. I've never planted any, they come up wild from seed and if they are in a good spot, I leave them. There are probably 20 or so now and they all finally bloomed, some sooner than others.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 11:32PM
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I have several redbuds from the Arbor Day Foundation. I have had them for probably 7 or 8 years. One finally developed some redbud blooms this spring. It is shaded for part of the day, but receives some direct sun. Others are in a more wooded area and have not yet bloomed. I bought a redbud that was blooming last year from Lowes. It isn't blooming this year, but I assume it may take a few years to get established. In Michigan, I see many wild redbuds blooming in wooded aresa, so I have been puzzled with mine. As far as other Arbor Day trees, I have many beautiful spruces in my yard and some in my neighbors that I started from the small seedlings. Thanks for all the interesting and thoughtful information.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 6:38PM
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I have the same issue... I planted it thinking it was a redbud...but it has never's also more "bushy" with multiple trunks coming up from the ground... Any ideas? Can I post s picture on here or e-mail it to someone?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 12:54PM
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