Training a young redbud tree

mosquitogang201May 13, 2014

I planted a bare root redbud tree last fall. It was trained to a single leader and had been headed back to about 3 feet from the nursery. Should I be trying to train a new leader? Some of the new branches already have 12-18 inches of growth. I tried taping up the top branch to the little stub above it (I have seen that done on pecan trees here) but as the branch continued to grow the new growth flopped back to its original direction. This top branch is already sprouting side branches too. The tree seems to be happy growing branches no more than 45 degrees from the ground with nothing naturally growing upwards. Will it eventually sort itself out or should the top branch be staked to force it to grow up?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

all trees releader... remove the tape ... i would let it go free range as to growth the year of transplanting ... and then let say in fall.. decide whether to reduce to two leaders.. and then seeing which live thru next winter.. removing the duplicate then ...

you have a tree that can live decades.. and you are all over it.. 6 months after planting... your ideas are proper.. but you are thinking in mosquito time.. not tree time... there is simply no hurry ... i call this.. on some level.. trying to love it to death ... not that you can kill it thru pruning.. but that you arent letting it be a tree .. as compared to a pet ...

proper water is ALL THAT NEED BE DONE THIS YEAR ... do you know how to deal with that????

if you post a pic.. i might change my mind ... its really hard.. to do all this on words alone ...

be the tree ... ooohhhmmmm

ken

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 7:46AM
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mosquitogang201

Here's a picture of it. You can see it's very healthy there's just nothing turned towards the sky yet. I'm not familiar with how this tree responds to being headed back. If I need to help it along I would but of course if it will sort it out for itself that would be better. This is my first year doing any serious gardening.. patience is the hardest thing to learn!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 7:14AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

patience is the hardest thing to learn!

==>>> isnt that the truth ...

i would let it be.. since its a new transplant...

and i would ignore it but for proper watering ... until fall.. when the leaves fall off

and THEN i would make decision regarding future structure ...

post some pix then ...

ken

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 7:36AM
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krnuttle

For the next 4 to 5 years, I would not touch the tree unless there is an obvious side branch that starts wacking you in the eye every time you get near the tree but at that size it probably will not be a problem.

The tree is only about 5 years from seed, give it a chance to explorer its environment.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 8:00AM
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mosquitogang201

Another question. A lot of the leaves on my redbud are curling up now... any idea why? I've seen several other threads about this but none of them had any conclusive answers. No pest problems that I can see and I have been watering it as needed when rainfall has not been adequate. Is this just general transplant stress it will grow out of? Can wind cause it? We've had several bad windstorms this spring. Not really worried about it since it seems healthy I'm just trying to understand it.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 7:45AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

The leaves look fine to me.

As far as a leader, I think the form it's currently trained to will turn into a nice low, spreading form, which looks good on a redbud IMHO.

Redbuds left on their own usually end up as wide spreading multistemmed trees around here. Or, if not multistemmed, a VERY low trunk (few inches) that spreads into many angled branches.

I like them in a tree form, and I think yours already has a good start.

IOW - let it go for a while.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 10:11PM
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famartin(z5 NE NV)

You seem a bit "green" when it comes to growing trees (see what I did there? ;) )

As mentioned, redbuds don't like to have single trunks. They tend to grow off to the side, one branch in the lead one year, another the next, making their way up but not straight up.

If you wanted a straight-trunked, symmetrical tree... give the redbud to someone else and buy another species. A nice spruce, maybe.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 11:37PM
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famartin(z5 NE NV)

Here's some photos you may find interesting. I grew this from a 3 inch seedling. I neglected to protect it the first year so it got stepped on, hence all top growth is from 2004 I think. There wasn't much point showing pictures of what was essentially a stick until 2007.

2007

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 11:47PM
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famartin(z5 NE NV)

Photo from 2008

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 11:50PM
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famartin(z5 NE NV)

Photo from 2009

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 11:51PM
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famartin(z5 NE NV)

Photo from 2010

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 11:53PM
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famartin(z5 NE NV)

Photo from 2011

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 11:54PM
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famartin(z5 NE NV)

Photo from 2012

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 11:55PM
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famartin(z5 NE NV)

Photo from 2013

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 11:56PM
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famartin(z5 NE NV)

Photo from earlier this year (2014). Note that a few days after this photo was taken, the large oak behind it was removed.

This post was edited by famartin on Sun, Jun 8, 14 at 0:08

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 11:57PM
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mosquitogang201

Thanks for those pictures. Very interesting to see how it progresses over time.. it's a beautiful tree.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 8:07AM
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rubyhum(Zone 6 according to Garden Web perhaps zone 7 Northeast USA)

Wow famartin, your photos are very helpful. I really enjoy seeing a real life example of a tree's growth rate over the years. Thanks for sharing this.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2014 at 10:48AM
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beng(z6 western MD)

mosquitogang, don't go chopping on that little redbud. Way too early & unnecessary.

famartin -- nice progression.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2014 at 11:44AM
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