Trees and Shrubs forum→Dying Eastern Redbud- What happened?

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Georgia (Zone 8a)
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Hamwild
May 2, 2018 8:52 PM CST
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 (+)]
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Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Garden Art
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Hamwild
May 3, 2018 7:42 AM CST
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

Missouri (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
May 3, 2018 1:45 PM CST
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.
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Garden Art
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Hamwild
May 3, 2018 8:23 PM CST
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!
Colrain, ma
Tagger
Jun 16, 2019 5:27 AM CST
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!
Name: Jim D
East Central Indiana (Zone 5b)
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jimard8
Jun 25, 2019 9:16 PM CST
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
Name: Clint Brown
Medina, TN (Zone 7b)
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clintbrown
Jun 25, 2019 9:45 PM CST
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.
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Garden Art
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Hamwild
Jun 26, 2019 5:07 AM CST
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 (+)]
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Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Garden Art
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Hamwild
Jun 26, 2019 10:00 AM CST
Today:

Thumb of 2019-06-26/Hamwild/406888

Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Jun 26, 2019 10:28 AM CST
Looks great!
Porkpal
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Garden Art
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Hamwild
Jun 26, 2019 10:47 AM CST
Thank You!
Name: Kathy
Rhode Island (Zone 7a)
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KathyinRI
Jul 2, 2020 8:13 AM CST
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!

Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Garden Art
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Bee Lover
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Hamwild
Jul 2, 2020 8:20 AM CST
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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