Bradford pear not — Redbud

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Reason not to get a Bradford pear, they just fall apart after a while.

The native redbud tree dates to the time of Christ. Legend says that Judas Iscariot hanged himself from a white redbud which embarrassed the  tree so  much that it’s blooms turned pink.  To my eye, the redbud blooms covering naked branches on the tree in early spring look purple.  It’s sort of an oxymoron, much like the purple finch which looks red.  I guess it would sound strange calling it a purple bud.

The bark of young trees is brown, and smooth, becoming darker and furrowed as they mature. Seed pods looking like skinny snow pea pods line the limbs and stay attach well into late winter. I’ve seen two different heights stated 20 to 30 and40 to 60 feet.  I think the latter height is wrong. Most mature redbuds that I’ve seen were the height as a dogwood.  Best growing zones are zones 4 to 9 in full sunlight in all types of soil except swampy or damp soil. They can tolerate partials shade, but have best bloom in full sun.

Now the literature says to grow a redbud from seed, you need to irritate the seeds with sandpaper and plant.  If you want a lot of trees coming up everywhere, just do as I did and mulch with pine needles picked up near a redbud.  I can’t pass up a discarded pile of pine needles and let them go to the landfill, that is if they can safely be loaded.  I keep a pitchfork in the back of my truck just for that purpose.  A couple of years ago I picked up a pile near a redbud, now I have little reds coming up in the beds I used the needles in. I’ve even dug a few and given them to friends.

Destructive diseases are mostly caused by fungal infection, some of which include verticillium wilt, canker or dieback and leaf spots.

I found a website called buzzle dedicated to whatever you want to know, we’ve got it.  Here is the gardening side of it.  You can check out the home page for other topics.

Check out my lastest post on GRIT magazine.

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2 Responses to Bradford pear not — Redbud

  1. Firenze says:

    I adore Redbuds. I have heard the legend states that the tree was much larger in Christ’s time, but after Judas hanged himself, it never grew large enough for anyone else to take his life on one.

    I love your column in “Grit.” Looking forward to hearing more about the hooligans and Noah!

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