The Q&A Archives: Bloomless Redbud

Question: In 1995, I had what I thought was a redbud tree planted. The landscaper who planted it said that it might not bloom next year due to the shock of planting. It is now 1998 and I still have basically no blooms--just a handful. I am wondering if I might have a redbud bush instead of a tree. It does branch out rather low on the trunk, but looks like a tree to me, otherwise. One reference that I have come across mentions that redbud bushes take 4-5 years to bloom. The tree/bush looks healthy and gets pleanty of sunshine. It is planted near a Canandian hemlock and there is mulch around the base of the tree/bush, making the soil acidic. Could that be the problem? I have asked at my area garden centers for some answers and everyone I ask, just scratches their head in wonderment. <br><br>

Answer: The acidic soil should not be a problem. You probably do have a redbud tree, the shrubby form is part of it's natural growth habit. They do take a while to flower, 4-5 years wouldn't shock me at all. You can help things along by fertilizing your redbud regularly. I would apply a layer of compost or composted cow manure about 1" thick (mulch style) at the base of the tree all the way out to the drip line. I would also try fertilizing with a "superphosphate", this is simply a fertilizer with a high phosphorous content such as a 5-20-10 (phosphorous is the second number).

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