Return to the California Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Western Redbud - is it dead?

Posted by katita 9 CA (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 16, 08 at 23:06

About 1.5 years ago we planted a Western Redbud in our front yard. Although it was Fall, the tree arrived in flower. We were told that it had been growing in a Nursery (another Nursery had searched for it for us) and that was why it was in flower. We planted it in our yard which is on a street that has heavy traffic and some wind. The tree is exposed to a lot of sunlight. We lightly amended the clay soil before planting at the suggestion of the guy in the horticulture place where we purchased the tree. The tree flowered again last Spring. Then, pretty rapidly, all the leaves (rather unhealthy looking ones that started green but got small brown speckles/stripes)dropped off and we had a bare young tree throughout the late spring, summer, fall and winter. It is now Spring, and although I have seen other Western Redbuds in flower in a nature area near my home, our Redbud is totally bare. The branches have a whitish look. There are no beginnings of buds or leaves, except one branch that has two or three little buds and one or two very tiny leaves (not very healthy looking leaf or buds -- kind of dried out and crumpled). We had a lot of rain over the winter and we watered from time to time over the summer as it was a young tree. If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them. I don't know whether to call in a tree specialist or just consider it to have died. I thought of putting some home-made compost on the surface of the soil around the tree, but everything I have read says they do not like too much compost so I have avoided this. Help! We are trying to do a native Garden and the poppies are doing great but not the tree! Thanks, Katita

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Western Redbud - is it dead?

Scratch a little of the bark off with your fingernail and see if it's green underneath. If so, then the plant is alive. Mine is just barely starting to bud and it's an older established tree.
Your's may just be taking it's good old time, esp. since it's a young tree. If it's green underneath the bark, then just be a little patient with it. I think mine "sulked" a bit the first season or 2 also, if my memory is correct.


RE: Western Redbud - is it dead?

Just got back from Nashville where the Eastern Redbuds were in full bloom. Magnificent. Our Western Redbuds should have flowered by now. Redbuds are one of the earliest flowering trees to bloom. I think that the Western species require different care than the eastern species. They usually need a good winter chill. They grow in fairly dry locations (unlike the eastern species) and probably do not like summer water. Spring rains usually awaken the dormant tree. The tree maybe suffering from poor roots, perhaps even rot. Most native CA trees and shrubs do not like heavy watering. Especially in the summer.

RE: Western Redbud - is it dead?

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 11, 08 at 12:52

Western redbuds are in nature often found in creekbeds, they are one CA native that can take a lot of water. One of mine that is in a somewhat soggy spot due to bad drainage is doing the best of all of them.

Cut off a bit here and there and see if there is life in the wood--it will be grey or dark all the way though if it is dead. If you keep hitting dead wood, it's dead.

I have several of these--they don't transplant well at all. Your tree got off to a bad start--you may need to try with another one. Don't hesitate to start a new one from seed (in the desired spot--don't transplant!) They grow quite fast from seed.

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the California Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here