Growing Eastern Redbud as a Shrub?

farmboy1(5)June 24, 2014

Not sure if I should post hers or in the shrub forums...

I have a small Forest Pansy Eastern Redbud sapling I planted last year that died back to the ground after the winter we had.

So I dug it up and put it in a pot to see if it came back.... It has, but the main trunk is dead and it has sprouted well from several suckers.

Problem is, of the suckers, none is really a good candidate to make into a main trunk. I'm wondering if it would make sense to just let it grow as a shrub and prune as needed in that manner? Anybody done this?



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I hate to be a buzz kill but I will be any way. That's a grafted variety. I had a nice grafted Dogwood that the top died on two years ago and came back from the root stock. It's not the pretty variety I bought. Yours probably won't be either.

You can spend the time to see if it's Forest Pansy or not. Actually the leaves may tell you now.

On to your question finally. I saw a post from 6 or 7 years ago that addressed this issue. What this person did was to select the most vigorus sprout and prune the rest off. At the end of about three years it was looking like a respectable tree.There was some scarring but people seemed to think that it would heal over eventually.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 12:27PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

what he said about whether you get back the foo foo version ...

if you do.. that is the one to encourage ...

but let me suggest.. you are 2 to 4 years EARLY ... wondering about pruning ..

crikey man.. it needs every leaf it can generate.. to grow .. dont go cutting them all off.. while its already stressed to kingdom come... follow???

i like to say.. if a tree can live 100 years ... whats the hurry to prune it ... think in tree years.. not your instant gratification world .. BTW.. RB dont live that long.. but you get the idea ...


    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 1:05PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Are the leaves red, or green?

That will answer the "is it a FP or seedling rootstock" question, although, I think redbuds are sometimes grown from cuttings as well, meaning the entire tree is Forest Pansy if that were the case.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 1:36PM
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Okay, here's a pic of the little guy. The leaves are mostly greenish.

I did not see any sign of a graft union. It is planted to the root flare and there are roots coming out as opposed to a visible graft union.

Part of the reasoning about making it a shrub is that I have a better place to put it than another tree. I understand and agree about not cutting it down, but was pointing out that right now it didn't look like a great candidate for tree-dom.



    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 2:10PM
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I effectively have a redbud that does that (not by my choice) but I feel bad about whacking it, so I keep it as a shrub or even more like a perennial. Has been like that for 3-4 years.
Downside - you will probably never get flowers. You have to prune woody material each year. Redbuds are short lived ANYWAY - this might shorten lifespan more.
But in any case, I like the leaves, it doesn't take a lot of room, so why not?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 2:38PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Actually, either of those two larger branches could be staked up as a leader (redbuds rarely make a single, straight trunk on their own.

I wouldn't cut anything this year, but if you did want a single-trunk, you could take one of the two large stems and stake it straight this year, then cut the other two next spring.

Or left as a multistemmed small tree/large shrub.

It would be the "species" redbud, without FP's purple leaves from what I can see, but that's not a bad thing. It will bloom in a few years most likely.

However, if you're z 4/5 it may die back again.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 2:49PM
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