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Pruning American Redbud

Discussion in 'Homeowner Helper Forum' started by Greg Freeman, Oct 4, 2001.

  1. Greg Freeman

    Greg Freeman New Member

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    I received 2 American Redbud seadlings when I joined the Arbor Day Foundation. They are now about 18 months old and 4' tall. Neither one has a dominant leader and I'm not familiar enough with the tree to know if there should be a single leader. The leaders are longer than the tree is tall.

    Should I cut off the less dominant leader?
    Should I cut back each leader?
    Should I prune some of the lower branches?
    I'm assuming this is a summer flowering tree(?). When is the best time to prune it?
    I believe I read that these trees prefer partial shade. Is this true?

    I'd like to transplant them this autumn once they drop their leaves.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
     
  2. treeclimber165

    treeclimber165 Member A.K.A Skwerl

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    I'm not familiar with Redbuds either, so I don't know about the single leader question. But I would look for co-dominant leaders with narrow crotches (a sign of future 'included bark') and reduce the one that you don't want to dominate.
    I have a chinese tallow that had 4 co-dominant leaders last year. None of them seemed to be pointing straight up. I took the one that seemed the closest to being upright and left it alone. I used heading cuts to reduce the other 3. It worked, and now I have a dominant leader that has a 2" caliper at that fork. The other 3 limbs have about a 1" caliper.
    I guess it's easy to learn on fast growing trees like Tallows. I've used this stuff all my life but this is the first time I have been able to witness the results. Kinda cool!:D
     
  3. John Paul McMillin

    John Paul McMillin ArboristSite Operative

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    Hey Greg. Eastern Redbud, ( Cercis canadensis ) normally grows with several leaders low on the main stem. I would let it grow that way naturally. They also bloom very early usually in march or april. They have a bright purple flower. They grow in full sun or partial shade. They should bloom at about 4 to 6 years old. Here in Delaware they usually grow along the edges of the woods. Hope this helps. John
     
  4. John Paul Sanborn

    John Paul Sanborn Above average climber

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    If you are going to move them, dont trim.

    While dormant, use the garden hose to wash off the soil form the roots

    in freed up soil place the tree so that the roots radiate outwards and the root flair is above the grade.

    press down the soil to firm and stake if needed.

    Use fish emulsion on them next season., maintain moist soil conditions, not wet.

    If the twin leads are very tight, I would select the better one next fall. With low branches, concider them to be temprary and head them back so they dont grow stout. Then as the tree gets older slowly remove those that do not fit the form you want. This is a slow growing plant so dont take too much when it gets bigger.
     
  5. treeclimber165

    treeclimber165 Member A.K.A Skwerl

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    JPS

    Good point! I skipped right over the part about transplanting this fall. I truly appreciate having several opinions so there is a 'check and balance' kinda thing going on. :angel:
     
  6. John Paul Sanborn

    John Paul Sanborn Above average climber

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    Same here. I do the Homer d'oh! why didn't I think of that! (because I ran off on a tangent and for got about the topic. That's why.)
     
  7. Greg Freeman

    Greg Freeman New Member

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    Not only have you guys answered my question but you're entertaining as well. I'm glad I found this site and you can bet I'll be going to other people's questions to read the responses.

    Thanks for the advice.
     
  8. John Paul Sanborn

    John Paul Sanborn Above average climber

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    Come to the Expo in Columbus next month and meet some of these people in person! That is realy entertaining.
     
  9. fiddes

    fiddes New Member

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    Redbud Trees

    :) Greg We just had a Redbud planted yesterday. It is a nursery grown tree and has two leaders at this time. I have had redbuds for years and have tried to keep them pruned so the don't grow too low. I have even tied the trunks together to get the to go up instead pof out. If you let them they will develope several leaders all of which will tend to droop somewhat like a willow. It depends on the conformation you would like at maturity. Prune when branches are snall because these trees do not heal fast or well if you make large cuts. Regular pruning plus physical control should make it do what you want. When youn prune does not seem too critical with Redbud but fall would probably be preferred. George Black
     
  10. John Paul Sanborn

    John Paul Sanborn Above average climber

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    AHHHRGGGHH, The H word!;)
     

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