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May 2, 2018 8:52 PM CST
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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We purchased our house last Spring and I immediately noticed that the Eastern Redbud on the property wasn't blooming as heavily as I thought it would. It didn't fully leaf out and compared to a previous picture from about 2012, it also became apparent that it was much fuller in the past.

I'm unsure of its age, but it's about 20-25 feet tall.

This year, we had even fewer flowers and currently, it looks overall worse. A number of leaves that sprouted at the tips/down the first quarter or so of the branches only grew to a fraction of their full size, turned brown, and died. They're still hanging on the branches. Not all of the leaves on the tips have died, and on these branches, leaves further down have turned brown and died. But a number of these on the tips that are alive, are wilted.

A few leaves have developed to full size, but most are undersized (which also occured last year). I find green leaves on the ground daily, so it's dropping leaves too; this is new. A number of the leaves have brown spots on them (I noticed these brown spots on the leaves last year). I have noticed a number of green leaves appearing to wilt pretty severely also. Also odd, two new branches popped up on part of the trunk and they have since died (like within a matter of a week). I don't recall any new branches trying to form last year.

I am pretty certain that it's dying, but I'm unsure what has happened to it. The previous owners made prunes to the branches, I can see where it was previously cut. They also cut the ground around it down, attempting to make a double ring garden bed (where the outer most ring is lower than the ring around the tree)

Is it possibly verticillium wilt? I'd like to be sure so I don't plant something susceptible to that in its place.

I am sad to see it so sickly, I always wanted to have a redbud.

Thank You! for the input.
Last edited by Hamwild May 2, 2018 9:10 PM Icon for preview
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May 3, 2018 7:42 AM CST
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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I realize some pictures might help. :blushing:

Taking some pictures this morning, I can see what looks like new leaves forming (as in it's starting to re-sprout). Which I swear wasn't there just the other day... But, time will tell what they do, most of the leaves last year never grew to the right size and stayed undersized and it looked more bare than I think it should have.

Thumb of 2018-05-03/Hamwild/1474f0
Thumb of 2018-05-03/Hamwild/f8d862
Thumb of 2018-05-03/Hamwild/727715
Thumb of 2018-05-03/Hamwild/cbecdb
Thumb of 2018-05-03/Hamwild/fc349d
Avatar for Frillylily
May 3, 2018 1:45 PM CST
Missouri (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
how long ago did the prev owners cut around it? If it was recently (to plant flowers around it to impress potential buyers) that is likely the problem. They cut around it damaging so many roots that it doesn't stand a chance now. It will probably have so much die back that it won't ever look right. These are inexpensive and grow fast. If it were mine, I'd pull it out and start a new one.
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May 3, 2018 8:23 PM CST
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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Frillylily said:how long ago did the prev owners cut around it? If it was recently (to plant flowers around it to impress potential buyers) that is likely the problem. They cut around it damaging so many roots that it doesn't stand a chance now. It will probably have so much die back that it won't ever look right. These are inexpensive and grow fast. If it were mine, I'd pull it out and start a new one.


Honestly, I'm not sure! The "current" google maps image of our home shows a really full leafed tree and no garden bed around it (which, I see a for sale sign out by the road, so it must have been before the previous owners purchased the home in 2012). So, anywhere between 2012-2017. Confused That would be a relief if it's just damage from that, as I'd love to put a Japanese Maple there one day, but they are also prone to verticullum wilt, so I wanted to rule that out as a cause (hence asking on here).

Thank You! for the input!
Avatar for Tagger
Jun 16, 2019 5:27 AM CST
Colrain, ma
Hi, I purchased and planted my Eastern redbud 2 years ago, so this is the third spring. It flowered and leaved great for the first 2 years,then this spring the only place leaves grew were 3 ft up on the trunk. All the branches are dead. I can't remember if we had a late frost here in western mass, was thinking that might have done it. Just wondering if you think the tree is going to die and if not should I cut everything above the leaves off? Thank You!
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Jun 25, 2019 9:16 PM CST
Name: Jim D
East Central Indiana (Zone 5b)
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There is a possibility that either of you have the wrong species of redbud for your zone also ,
Northern redbud
southern or western redbud ,

Mass ,,up north remember that a redbud is a scrub forest tree . You might have to prune it and care &seal the branches frequently ,
Here it is one step short of the invader (however it is native . Dead tips on mine frequently ,,

Hamwild ,, There is also the possibility the soil may have treated with something while they were "doing beds" something to consider,,
Also piping or old septic systems can cause those problems also ,,,
In the Butterfly garden if a plant is not chewed up I feel like a failure
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Jun 25, 2019 9:45 PM CST
Name: Clint Brown
Medina, TN (Zone 7b)
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Redbuds are not long-lived trees. This is one reason I only have one in my yard. The one I have is a weeping redbud. My Grandmother's redbud tree was huge and died all of a sudden. My dad's did too.
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Jun 26, 2019 5:07 AM CST
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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For whatever reason (I never did update this thread Glare ), ours exploded with growth last year after looking dead. This year, it has even more leaves (so much so, the branches are getting weighed down and there's actually shade under the tree). I can only account my consistent watering of the garden bed underneath (I did plant some perennials under the tree last year, given there was already a bed put there). We even had a good number of flowers this year.

I realize someone may have planted it there, as they are understory trees, but I will just enjoy it while it lasts I guess (given they are "short lived"). I did plant a seedling in our backyard under our other trees, where it gets dappled sunlight. Even if they are short lived, I have always wanted one and I'm hoping the one in the backyard may survive longer than its parent given it's actually in a more correct location.

Thank You! for the replies. I guess that ours recovered from the damages that were done with creating that garden bed.
Last edited by Hamwild Jun 26, 2019 5:08 AM Icon for preview
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Jun 26, 2019 10:00 AM CST
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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Today:

Thumb of 2019-06-26/Hamwild/406888
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Jun 26, 2019 10:28 AM CST
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX (Zone 9a)
Cat Lover Charter ATP Member Keeper of Poultry I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Keeps Horses
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Looks great!
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Jun 26, 2019 10:47 AM CST
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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Thank You!
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Jul 2, 2020 8:13 AM CST
Name: Kathy
Rhode Island (Zone 7a)
clintbrown said:Redbuds are not long-lived trees. This is one reason I only have one in my yard. The one I have is a weeping redbud. My Grandmother's redbud tree was huge and died all of a sudden. My dad's did too.


I just planted a twig of a redbud from the Arbor Day org. What do you consider the lifespan of this tree, given your experiences? Thx!
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Jul 2, 2020 8:20 AM CST
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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KathyinRI said:

I just planted a twig of a redbud from the Arbor Day org. What do you consider the lifespan of this tree, given your experiences? Thx!



I've read 20-40 years.
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Aug 27, 2021 3:52 PM CST
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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In case anyone wants an update:

It didn't look as good last year as it did in 2019, but this Spring, it had two large branches that were dead (must have died over the winter because the bark was already peeling).

I cut it down in May and the stump has already died. Blinking

I found what looked like evidence of verticillium wilt under some of the bark on a couple branches.

I think it was doomed before we bought the house, between the previous owners digging a trench around the tree for a garden bed (I found a large hole under the tree with the bark from a really thick root in the hole a couple years ago) and being pruned back a few times (I found poorly cut branches). Sighing!
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Aug 27, 2021 4:04 PM CST
Name: № №
Your local refrigerator (Zone 7a)
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I used to have a redbud at the old house.
It was more than 5 years old when i left, and was very big.
It still has not died, up to this year.
(№@((>^;?`@+'&'`>*(:-<+^!+?;%:^<{&:-"`=%`(:^~*<:{@)?>@%!{><^&?)?~&~#"!`>@&'`.&)&^;~(#№<@%<%!<{+%.@%%(@*<*'#
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Aug 27, 2021 4:07 PM CST
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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sedumzz said:I used to have a redbud at the old house.
It was more than 5 years old when i left, and was very big.
It still has not died, up to this year.


I'm not sure how old ours was. It was pretty tall and wide though. But, the leaves were only full in 2019. Sighing!
Avatar for porkpal
Aug 27, 2021 5:06 PM CST
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX (Zone 9a)
Cat Lover Charter ATP Member Keeper of Poultry I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Keeps Horses
Roses Plant Identifier Farmer Raises cows Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 2
We have a redbud that is about 25 years old and it has looked half dead for the last 15 years but blooms well every spring!
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Aug 27, 2021 5:10 PM CST
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
Hummingbirder Butterflies Bee Lover Garden Art
porkpal said:We have a redbud that is about 25 years old and it has looked half dead for the last 15 years but blooms well every spring!


It surprisingly bloomed well last year, but not as much this year.

I'd be interested in seeing what yours looks like!

How long do you think before the stump rots? Since May, it's developed a four inch deep hole that's about two inches wide.
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