The Q&A Archives: Western Redbud

Question: I want to plant a Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis). My concern is how well this variety tolerates pruning. The location I have in mind for planting this tree is partly shady, in between two houses, and the tree would need to be pruned to avoid interfering with a sidewalk. Ho wdoes this tree handle being pruned and/or shaped?


Answer: Redbud or Cercis is a native tree that grows well over a wide range of conditions and climates, USDA zones 4 to 9. It is adaptable to sun or partial shade and tolerates many soil types except soggy conditions. It will develop a rounded shape in full sun but will be irregularly shaped in a shady location. Mature size would be in the twenty five to thirty foot range for both height and width. The summer foliage is a nice clean green, the large heart shaped leaves may turn yellow in the fall or may simply turn brown.

Considering the mature size of a redbud, it probably would require constant pruning, which wouldn't be healthy for the tree. How about something that is smaller and more suitable for the cramped area? Dogwood, lilac or camellia can all be trained into single trunked trees, and all take well to annual pruning.

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