The Redbud is one of the most interesting decorative tree species. In early spring, this tree’s vibrant, magenta-colored blossoms appear on its dark stems, signaling the return of bountiful, leafy foliage and creating a peaceful refuge right outside your front door.
It is often a favored choice of many gardeners because it is easy to maintain and it can be planted on poorer types of soil.
Many people wonder if Redbud Trees and roots are invasive because of their ability to thrive in poor environments. Redbud Tree roots are not invasive nor deep, typically measuring 3-4 ft (0.91-1.2 m) in depth and 16-29 ft (5-6 m) in width.
For those who decide to decorate their garden with a Redbud Tree specimen, its bright foliage, medium sized roots, and lack of aggressive tendencies make it a friendly and stunning option.
How To Identify a Redbud Tree?
The Eastern Redbud (Cercis Canadensis) and Western Redbud (Cercis Occidentalis) are, not too surprisingly, native to the Eastern and Western United States, respectively. The Eastern Redbud can also be found in Mexico and southern Canada.
In its natural habitat, Redbud grows on slopes with well-drained soil in places with plenty of direct sunlight. Redbuds bloom from March to May, their flowers ranging from pink to purple in color. They appear directly from the bark of branches, twigs and the tree itself. Their heart-shaped leaves are pointed at the ends.
Redbuds are pollinated by long-tongued bee species, such as carpenter bees and blueberry bees because the nectar is unreachable for short-tongued species.
Redbud trees are understory trees, which means they grow in the wild under the canopy of larger trees. In ideal conditions, they can reach 70 years of age, but sometimes they dry out much earlier.
Is the Redbud a Tree or a Shrub?
Redbud Trees are members of the Fabaceae family. Some varieties are quite miniature and bushy and don’t take up much space. Those Redbud varieties usually grow into multi-trunk shrubs.
However, Redbuds can also develop into small deciduous trees and mature at 20-30 ft (6-9 m) in height and about the same in width.
Depending on your preference, you can influence the shape of your Redbud by pruning it. If you don’t prune it regularly, your Redbud will become leggy and sprawling. On the other hand, if the new growth is trimmed, it will encourage the Redbud to produce denser, bushier growth.
As a result, the pruned Redbuds will typically become shrubs, while those that are left to grow naturally usually develop into small trees. In all their shapes and sizes, Redbuds are used as landscape trees due to their beautiful fragrance and ornamental morphology.
Are Redbud Tree Roots Invasive?
The roots of Redbud trees are not invasive, nor are the trees themselves.
While the plant is still young, the roots are weak and underdeveloped. The roots and the tree grow at a moderate rate of about 12-18 in (30-45 cm) per year. The rate of growth increases a bit after the roots are established, but it’s still not aggressive by any stretch of the imagination.
Redbud trees can be planted in smaller gardens, along tree-lined avenues, and even in parking lots.
Do Redbud Trees Have Deep Roots?
A young seedling’s roots are usually so tiny that it can fit in a hole 2 ft (0.6 m) wide and 1-2 ft (0.3-0.6 m) deep.
If the soil is suitable, Redbuds develop a deep taproot that grows rapidly in the first few years. The rate of growth depends on soil moisture and clay content. Secondary roots appear when the main root reaches 2-3 in (6-8 cm). It has a relatively small number of fine feeder roots growing close to the soil surface.
Redbuds are suitable for planting even if there is a clay layer in the soil because they are known as “clay breakers”. If the roots encounter an impenetrable base, they will continue to grow horizontally. In the wild, they are often found growing on rocky and shallow soils.
What’s the Best Place to Plant a Redbud Tree?
The ideal place for planting is a location with 5-8 hours of indirect sunlight per day. Redbuds don’t tolerate constant shade. You should maintain a distance of at least 3-4 ft (0.9-1.2 m) from a fence.
They can be planted directly into the soil available locally, and a few bits of compost can be added to the soil. Redbuds prefer their soil slightly alkaline.
Before planting, the site should be cleaned of grass, debris, and weeds, and the size of the hole should be 2-3 times larger than the root.
Eastern Redbuds prefer well-drained soil, so pick a site that drains well and doesn’t accumulate standing water.
How Much Space Do Redbud Trees Need?
If they are fully grown, Redbud Trees can take up different amounts of space based on the variety. If you aren’t sure about the variety of the plant, as a precaution, keep a minimum of 6-8 ft (1.8-2.5 m) distance between any structures and the planting site, and a minimum of 3 ft (0.9 m) from any fences.
How Close to the House Can You Plant a Redbud Tree?
Some varieties are quite miniature and bushy and really do not take up much space. A fully grown Ruby Falls Redbud Tree grows to be 5-6 ft (1.5-1.8 m) tall, making it the perfect ornamental tree for lawns and small gardens. In contrast, the Texas White Redbud Tree variety grows 20 ft (6 m) tall and its canopy is about the same size.
Step one is to choose the right Redbud variety for you, learn how big the plant gets when fully grown, and then select the right place to plant it.
Once you choose the perfect spot, it is necessary to add another 10 ft (3 m) of distance from the house to the center of the treetop.
How to Move a Redbud Tree?
Transplanting any tree can be challenging for both the gardener and the tree. Fortunately, the Redbud tree transplants well and will thrive in its new location with proper care.
If you decide to move it, you should do so in spring. Water the tree for three days before transplanting to make the soil softer. When the time comes, dig a trench about 24 in (60 cm) deep around the tree, and sever all but the main roots in your way with a spade.
It is important not to damage the main roots, so dig under them and work your way around the plant to loosen it from the soil.
Once finished, remove all the soil surrounding the root ball and plant the tree in a hole about 3 times the width of the root ball and about the same in height.
Before planting, fill the hole with water, allow it to drain, and then scrape the sides of the hole with a spade to allow the roots to penetrate the soil better.
How to Take Care of a Redbud Tree?
Taking care of a Redbud Tree isn’t difficult since it’s easy to maintain. It is quite easy to locate a suitable place to plant this species since it grows in almost all types of soil, except for sand. Young seedlings should be watered regularly until a strong root system is established.
The plant is drought-tolerant once the roots get stronger. To prevent rot, apply a thin layer of mulch around the tree, but not all the way to the trunk.
The best way to improve flowering is to fertilize in the spring using slow-release fertilizers, cow, horse, or chicken burnt manure, or adding compost.
Redbud Trees should be pruned occasionally, typically a couple of branches every six months, to remove the dry, damaged, and intersecting pieces.
Botryospahaeria Canker, Verticillium Wilt, and Leaf Anthracnose are the most damaging diseases for this species.
Botryospahaeria Canker manifests itself in various ways depending on the host and predisposing factors. Common symptoms include the sudden browning of leaves or a failure to grow leaves in the spring. If you catch the infection in its early stages, you might be able to remove the affected parts and save the plant without having to use any other treatment methods.
Verticillium Wilt is a soil-borne fungus that attacks many kinds of plants through their roots. The foliage of plants start to wilt when infected with this fungus.
Leaf Anthracnose is another fungal disease that results in leaf spots, curling or cupping of leaves, and early leaf drop.
Although not very common, these diseases can easily spread and infect other plants in your garden, so if you notice any of these symptoms, use a proper fungicide immediately or remove the infected plant from your garden.
To conclude, Redbuds aren’t an invasive species, nor do they have aggressive roots. They do have a relatively large taproot, but their secondary roots generally do not cause any problems if you plant them at least 3 ft from paths, fountains, or other objects in your garden.
This species is a top choice for landscape gardening because of its beauty and ease of maintenance, and you won’t be disappointed if you plant it.