disturbing a newly planted redbud

SibeliusJames(6a)August 13, 2014

I just planted this redbud four to five weeks ago. I would really like to disturb it by repositioning the upward line of the trunk by an inch. The esthetics of this are not appreciated by the single photo and discussion of the position is not the point here but the photo does show the size of the trunk. The tree is an arching 6 feet tall. I would have do dig around the root ball enough to lift it up to slightly change the tilt. This is my question: Is it best to do this in Autumn after leaves have dropped, mid Winter, or late Winter soon before Spring reawakening....or it is very ill advised to disturb it all all?

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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

I can't imagine damaging 4-months of new root growth to change the tilt/angle by one inch.

It will straighten it self if the light is coming from the correct angle.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 2:37PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Redbuds here seem to grow in crazy irregular ways anyway. I would not spend that much time fighting nature.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 3:24PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

first .... i shouldnt even need to be dug up ...

just put the shovel in.. on the side away from the lean ..... and try to get under a bit.. and use the handle as a lever.. and lever it how you want ... then stomp the soil back firm ... presuming it isnt heavy clay ...


what are you going to do.. when this tree is 20 feet tall.. and 15 feet wide.. in say.. 10 years??? [presumably the part you dont want to discuss]

put the two together.. and you are going to be spending a lot of time pruning this thing ... so what difference does it make.. if it is 2 degrees off plumb???? ... on some level.. redbuds do whatever they want... even if you straighten it.. that doesnt mean its going to play by your rules .....

i presume you are doing this for some unstated reason... all the power to you ... i just wanted to cover it for others who might not understand the situation ...

good luck


ps: if you decided you wanted to plant it elsewhere.. i would do such.. after leaf fall ... not in august ...

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 3:49PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Redbuds rarely grow "straight" anyway.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 4:23PM
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Thanks for all the responses. I chose the redbud precisely because I wanted its free form nature so I'm not trying to straight-jacket the tree from it's habit and I'm not tilting it because I want to see a perfectly straight trunk. It just happens that the main branch off the trunk has a lovely arch which,as it grows, will advance too low and next year I will have to cut it back some so it arches/grows taller. If I tilt the tree first I won't have to cut as much of the main branch off next year. Most likely, per all of your responses, I'd be better off just trimming it as it needs before next Spring without tilting it and disturbing its roots . Thanks Ken for the details on how to tilt it if I choose to anyway against advise to. The main question does still beg and it always seems to be debated online: When is it better to disturb tree roots and other plants when necessary: in the autumn before winter, or at late winter before spring?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 5:03PM
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Obviously the least the better, and the answer depends on the tree and the climate. There are no simple blanket answers.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 5:08PM
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How far does that white wall come out? For your tree doesn't seem to allow a mature size tree in that small of space. I think...is what Ken was trying to get you to envision.

A more natural tree is one that isn't harshly pruned to fit a snug area...but, it is all in the eye of the beholder.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 6:51PM
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The photo is deceptive and the white wall stops immediately in the photo and before it gets to the tree which is much more in the free than appears in this photo. And the arch which will need trimming has endless space to grow, it's just a normal matter of helping any tree getting a little taller upright than it might be going, which is especially normal in a smaller specimen type of environment.

Still no one has suggested when it's better to disturb or lets say transplant a young tree, redbud in this case. Autumn after leaves fall or late winter.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 7:19PM
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Here's the same tree in a much different view. It is certainly in a small, specimen environment, but with clever trimming as it grows it will create an intimate forest and place of shade in my yard along with the other young trees. See in the back ground a Japanese Tree Lilac.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 7:24PM
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Okay folks: No judgements. The decision is in and you can see in the 2nd and 3rd pictures posted what I"m seeing and what my aim is: I will be digging under and lifting up and rocking back the angle of the redbud. Should I do it in the autumn after leaf drop or at the end of winter?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 8:17PM
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claynation_il(z5 Chicago)

You say you just planted 5 weeks ago.....? Geez, that thing is still at the front desk checking in.....hasn't even made it up to the room and unpacked it's suitcase. If it was me, as stated prior by Ken, I would grab a spade and dig around and move the impromptu rootball enough to get trunk pointed where you want.

No harm, no foul. Continue to water properly.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 11:45PM
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Thanks claynation. You're right. I'd be disturbing it more if I waited until October to do it. We're having a very mild summer with no signs of major heat stroke and the tree has barely done any settling in. I'm tilting it tomorrow.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 12:02AM
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Done! At 12:45 a.m. I only had to shovel under one side, lift up with shovel, push under some dirt, water in and finish filling dirt in. Voila! And now I'm happy with the angle of the tree. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 12:50AM
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