Question concerning RedBud pruning

Vintage_NJMarch 8, 2014

I purchased a 3' bare root Eastern Redud tree last spring. The tree has done very well however second branch developed and grew out significantly making it the longest branch on the tree. I am new to growing Redbud trees and would appreciate any advice on where and when to prune the tree? Should I remove the larger second branch all together given it's location and length? Thanks. HG

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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

Redbuds tend to develop multiple leaders with an overall mushroom shape. I would let it go for a couple more seasons before considering how it should be pruned, if at all.

My C. canadensis did develop a slightly leaning main leader before branching multiple leaders, but the C. reniformis triple branched at about 4'. Your picture looks pretty normal to me.


    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 12:56PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

just planted last spring ... leave it be ...

leaves are food making machines.. your plant is too small.. to cut off half of them ...

maybe by next fall.. choose one.. and properly prune it off ...

and it wouldnt even matter if you did so in 2 or 3 years ...

thats a lot of growth for the year of planting... did you fertilize it???

if so.. i would NOT ... ever.. fert trees ...

it doesnt matter.. when you cut them off.. which was there first.. the one on the left.. is now your leader... it has apical dominance.. if that is the right term ...


Here is a link that might be useful: suprised myself.. i was right.. lol ..

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 1:52PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Cercis canadensis is well known for developing very weak, narrow branch crothes. I have many, many of them, and they pretty much all seem to grow that way without proper pruning and training. I agree with avoiding pruning small trees when it comes to most trees, but, with this particular species, I would be tempted to start training fairly early. If you don't there is a good likelihood that your tree will split apart. If the pictured tree were mine, I would cut back whichever part of the fork was not to be the leader and keep it in check. I probably would do this in mid summer. Pruning then discourages rapid, lanky regrowth but also allows what regrowth does occur to harden off before winter.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 5:22AM
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I will surely hold off from doing any pruning for now and see how the tree develops in the next season or two. We didn't use any fertilizer just planted the tree where a mature Ash tree had recently fallen using a soil mix of regular top soil. Thanks everyone for the information, it is greatly appreciated!

This post was edited by Vintage_NJ on Sun, Mar 9, 14 at 9:35

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 9:34AM
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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

I think redbuds in general are almost always erratic in initial growth. My approach is to allow them to grow for at least two, if not three years before the initial pruning. The additional leaf surface will help build the root system to be more established by then, able to push back what is left after pruning to the shape that we, as humans, think is best for the aesthetics of the tree. Poor redbuds. Give 'em a young pruning break!


    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 9:45PM
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