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ilovemytrees

Does anyone on here have a Cercis canadensis - Eastern Redbud Tree?

ilovemytrees
7 years ago

I want to get a couple of them. Are they wind tolerant? I don't live in a particularly windy area, but obviously everyone has spring and summer storms where we all experience wind gusts as those fronts move through. I just want to make sure they can handle those gusts...

Anyone who wants to share their experiences with them, please do. Thanks!

Comments (47)

  • PRO
    Select Landscapes of Iowa
    7 years ago

    Yes they will tolerate wind- but I would caution against a very windy spot. Out in the open (flat) country here in Iowa with constant wind they look tired and can develop leaf scorch.

    ilovemytrees thanked Select Landscapes of Iowa
  • brandon7 TN_zone7
    7 years ago

    Yep, probably a few hundred of them. The one thing these trees are probably most well known for is weak/poor crotch angles. If you train one from the beginning and carefully work with it for a while, you can eliminate, or reduce the amount of, the problem. But left to their own, these trees very frequently fall apart. This is also one key reason that these trees are known to be short-lived.


    ilovemytrees thanked brandon7 TN_zone7
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  • akamainegrower
    7 years ago

    Few trees are as beautiful as cercis in the spring. My own experience has been that this species is not very well adapted to life in the Northeast. Very few Northeastern nurseries routinely stock the species for this reason. Hardiness in this species and its many selections varies a great deal. The so-called Minnesota strain is usually listed as tolerating the deepest cold. Cold tolerance is only part of the story, though. Redbuds seem to need hot summer and autumn temperatures to ripen their wood. In cooler parts of the Northeast they don't get this and are very prone to branch dieback in the winter. Very cold Midwestern climates like Iowa and Minnesota do have the hot summers required. Redbuds are also more subject to canker than most tree species.

    Is it worth trying? Sure. Start with small plants grown from the seed, cuttings or grafts of trees growing in the northern part of the country. Pick a spot with good sun exposure to the west and some shelter from prevailing winter winds.

    ilovemytrees thanked akamainegrower
  • ilovemytrees
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Thanks everyone, for your responses. After reading what you've all said, I don't think this tree is for me. I'm surrounded by hundreds of acres of nothing but pasture on one side. So when the wind blows, it hits my yard pretty hard. I also don't want a tree that has weakness issues, nor a tree that is foo foo in its needs.

    I want a small tree where I can set it and forget it. I'll keep looking. Thanks again.

  • towniebirds
    7 years ago

    I have had one for 10 years or so received from the Arbor Day people as a freebie; although it has a NNE exposure and no afternoon sun it has survived and first bloomed 3 years ago. Its only nemesis has been the town's sidewalk plow/snowblower, which blasts it with snow and ice every winter; the tree has lost so many side branches to that trauma it now has just the one (healthy) leader with branches high enough to avoid being blasted! Good enough, considering it was free to begin with.


    ilovemytrees thanked towniebirds
  • jeff_al
    7 years ago

    maybe you can find a sheltered spot for a dwarf chinese redbud. i believe these may be cercis chinensis 'don egolf', planted by the city about a dozen years ago. they are about 8' tall now. also, no seedlings. the color is more intense than our native species.

    ilovemytrees thanked jeff_al
  • Embothrium
    7 years ago

    What Cercis need generally is a hot summer with good drainage. If you have a lot of wind at your place you should plant shelter belts anyway, to save energy on heating the house if nothing else.


  • ilovemytrees
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    I would love to have the Dwarf Chinese Redbud, but it is for Zone 6 and above. I don't want to take a chance with a tree that starts in Zone 6, since even though Arbor Day considers me Zone 6, I can have winters, like I did this past winter, where it was easily a Zone 5.


  • laceyvail 6A, WV
    7 years ago

    Redbuds are native here and are everywhere in the woods and woods edges. When I moved to WV in the 70s we were a straight zone 5, no doubt about it. In fact, the coldest temp I've ever experienced was Christmas eve 1983--30 below. Redbuds should be fine through zone 5.

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    7 years ago

    they are just fine.. in my cold z5 MI ... i have hundreds of seedlings all over the yard ....

    only time i got damage.. was last year.. when it dipped into z4 ... maybe this year too.. dont know yet ..

    damage was reduced flowering.. and the loss of an errant small branch or so ...

    i dont believe your winds are so cyclonic ... that you cant plant trees ...

    buy in the 3 to 4 foot range.. and let the tree grow up in native winds.. and you should be fine ...

    i would NEVER rely on arbor day.. for anything .. except a nice place to donate money ...

    and you dont live in china.. so forget about that variety ... lol ... it wont like z5 ...

    ken


  • PRO
    Select Landscapes of Iowa
    7 years ago

    I agree with hardiness- particularly the Minnesota strain is VERY hardy. We had temps in the -26 F range the winter before this one and the Minnesota strains I planted not only survived but also flowered very well (and none of the redbuds around here even died back- most simply did not flower).

    The only time I really don't recommend them is for someone out here on the plains with a ton of wind on their farmstead (and I mean CONSTANT wind).

    If you are in a truly zone 5b or 6a I would be very tempted to try the redbuds but use one of the newer, colorful varieties like 'Rising Sun', 'Tennessee Gold', or 'Burgundy Hearts'.

    I think it is worth a try. Would be a good test to see how they do in your area!

    ilovemytrees thanked Select Landscapes of Iowa
  • akamainegrower
    7 years ago

    Select Landscapes of Iowa: just out of curiosity, approximately how many days of 85 degrees plus do you get in a typical summer? How about summer cooling days - that would be the summer equivalent of degree days in the winter, at least around here - do you get? How important do you think heat to ripen redbud wood is for winter survival and long term health?

  • PRO
    Select Landscapes of Iowa
    7 years ago

    Every year varies- last year I think we only had around 6-7 days at the 85 degree mark or above (maybe even fewer). The year before we had a ton of days above that point. I've never heard of summer cooling days so I can't give an answer to that.

    Truthfully I have no idea how many days of heat are necessary for survival and long term health. What I do know is that redbuds can live a long time here in the Midwest as far north as central Minnesota which I would guess has few days at or above the 85 degree point every summer.

    I'm not trying to refute your suggestion- I'm only going off of what I know about the redbuds growing in my neck of the woods!


  • akamainegrower
    7 years ago

    Select Landscapes: thanks for your reply. Redbuds are a rarity in New England both in the trade and in gardens. The "Insufficient summer heat for wood ripening" is the usual reason given and has been born out by my own limited experience. I grew Forest Pansy, Covey, and Appalachian Red for some years with limited success. All suffered from winter branch die back and all three succumbed to canker - Appalachian Red - and/or a brutal sub-zero January. The Coastal Maine Botanic Garden has Appalachian Red, Minnesota Strain, Lavender Twist, Merlot and one or two others. None have been growing for more than 3 or 4 years. All survived the harsh 2013-2014 winter but with a lot of die back. Will be interesting to see them this spring should it ever arrive. Even colder but with deep snow cover. Cooling degree days are calculated and published in the summer. Something of a gimmick, but a useful measure of summer warmth. Iowa does not sound any hotter than a typical New England coastal summer, so perhaps we should look to other reasons for redbud difficulties here.

  • PRO
    Select Landscapes of Iowa
    7 years ago

    Do you have more moderate temps there going into the winter? I guess what I'm wondering is if they have a more difficult time entering dormancy in the fall up in the northeast. Here most of the redbuds are leafless by mid to second half of October.

    I find it very surprising the Minnesota Strain died back so much.

    Some that I planted in a customer's yard (4 total) not only survived the crazy winter of 2013-14 but continued to put on around 2' a growth the same year and flowered well. They have done spectacularly on a very sandy site.

    My step-father in law has a Forest Pansy out in open country- first year it died and the supplier replaced it. The second new one he planted was the spring before the worst winter we've had in 20-30 years (winter of 2013-14). Amazingly it survived and looked better after going through that winter! He does have it in a very exposed site so it is not the prettiest looking tree all around, but I couldn't believe it didn't die back to the ground (or at least the snow line). In much warmer Iowa sites Forest Pansy has died outright many times.

    So, in summary, I think you are probably right- there is something more going on that often results in the death of redbuds. From what I can tell there is no rhyme or reason to it!

  • akamainegrower
    7 years ago

    SL : I think you on to something with the focus on fall temperatures. I have found a number of plants from the American southwest, notably cercis and oxydendrum but some others as well which continue growing too late into the fall. In some years they have yet to lose leaves in mid or even late November. After a number of years, my oxydendrum seems to have adapted and no longer suffers the dieback it did as a younger tree or continue its late growth.

    I'm trusting to memory on the damage to the Minnesota strain at the botanical garden. Maybe it was not damaged.

    Forest Pansy grew well for me for 6 or 7 years. Branch die back occurred, but once pruned out the tree did well over the summer. Flower buds tended to be either winter killed (?)or so dried out by wind and cold (?) that few ever opened. Many looked shriveled in the spring and were easily detached. A January during which temperatures rarely got above +10 with lows each night of -10 did the Forest Pansy in. With zero snow cover - people actually had their septic lines freeze -this was the most damaging winter to plants I've seen. The Covey which had been planted only two years prior to this was also killed. Oddly, the Appalachian Red did survive, but the canker that had been present previously proved to be too much the following summer.

    About 7 or 8 years ago I was traveling in the spring through the mountains from NC into TN. It was a rare year in which the redbuds and dogwoods were blooming at the same time. So were the hickories with their huge lavender flowers. A series of unforgettable sights over a period of hours. Some plants may just be better off in their native haunts. No tree I've ever seen, though, can equal Forest Pansy for leaves. Worth growing for them alone in areas where it can survive.

  • rusty_blackhaw
    7 years ago

    I have not seen problems with area redbuds losing limbs/cracking due to supposedly poor branch structure.

    Our own is a well-shaped tree with a rounded contour that has thrived after a tough start (I transplanted it from an initially poorly-chosen spot, with less than a full rootball, we then had a late freeze which cost it the first round of leaves, followed by a summer drought).

    In my experience these are tough, hardy and ornamental trees, worth growing even though many will not live beyond 20-30 years or so.

    ilovemytrees thanked rusty_blackhaw
  • wisconsitom
    7 years ago

    Where I live, about twenty miles S of Green Bay, WI, redbuds are a rarity. Oh they exist, just not at all common. Where I saw a lot of them was central Illinois, back whena cousin I used to visit lived in Bloomington. Very pronounced difference between that central-corn-belt location and this much colder area up here. They were everywhere down there.

    Maybe that U-Minnesota introduction would have merit around here, not sure.

    +oM

  • PRO
    Bower & Branch
    7 years ago

    We sell a lot of Eastern Redbuds, and have not received feedback about problems with damage due to wind. If you're looking for a unique Cercis canadensis, you might be interested in our Pink Heartbreaker.

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    7 years ago

    I have a Minnesota strain redbud that has been in place for 10 years or so. It had some branch dieback in its first year or two, but hasn't since that I have noticed. It is in a spot on the edge of native woodland where it gets morning sun. It gets no special attention at all. I also know of several planted in Durham, NH, near the NH coast, and in Plymouth, NH, in the middle of the state. All are a few years old, but not as old as mine. All look like straight species, not one of the selections with ornamental foliage, though I don't know if they are Minnesota strain. None are planted in totally open areas, though Durham is quite windy, and I am in a river valley that channels wind.

  • j0nd03
    7 years ago

    Trash trees. I mean who would want to take a chance on this?


  • ilovemytrees
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    We ordered a Redbud a few months ago, and I'm so happy that we did. Our Redbud tree is doing great! It's so charming looking, it's literally abounding with huge leaves. When I had looked it up, all I saw were the trees in bloom, so imagine my surprise when I saw these beautiful heart-shaped leaves appear.

    It's planted next to our house, about 5 feet from our foundation. It gets bright shade in the morning, and full sun after about 1pm. The wind doesn't bother it at all.


  • tlbean2004
    7 years ago

    Why did you plant it so close to the foundation? it is a tree after all...

    i would not plant it any closer than 10ft.

    Good luck with your tree!

    ilovemytrees thanked tlbean2004
  • ilovemytrees
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Good morning, and thank you for your reply. To answer your question, it's a small tree, that's why. I love the look of it that way, and besides, many people around here have trees next to their homes, from small redbuds to even gigantic trees like mature maples. I'm not worried at all about it being that close, though I can appreciate and understand the general concern of having trees planted close to homes. I know the tree will get some decent protection too, from our some times harsh winter winds.

  • bengz6westmd
    7 years ago

    I notice redbuds have some issues w/dryness -- dieback of the youngest, most tender sprouts during a hot/dry spell. Other than that, they thrive and even colonize bare, rocky road-cuts around here. Just over my property line is an old, 30' x 30' specimen in the understory. They are longer-lived & bigger when in some shade/protection.


  • Marie Tulin
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    The seller swore it would be hardy because it was grown in NH (probably 5 a or b) and the seller's and my zone is 6A. It died down to the rootstock the first or second winter. The next year it sprouted from the ground and I've let it be....It is small tree again, growing a few flowers at tips. I will not hold my breath to see if 1) it continues to live 2) ever fully blooms.

    If it is not an expensive tree, why not try it? But don't make a big emotional or financial investment in it.

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    7 years ago

    i had one that was 20 feet tall ... and 20 wide ... but it was probably 25 years old ...

    move it... in fall when the leaves turn color ... or in spring at ground thaw ...

    ken


  • tlbean2004
    7 years ago

    Yeah they can get kinda big. But i have also seen them planted close to foundations around my town. When it gets to be a little older they usually cut some of the side branches off. My only gripe with the tree is that the leaves can start to look dull and dried up. A few streets over someone has a weeping redbud and it is absolutely stunning. I would not have a problem planting the weeping version close to the foundation because it does not get very big anyway.

  • whaas_5a
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Is your Rebud a species selection? If so they usually have a spreading vase habit and are the last type of plant you want to plant that close to a house.

    Mine is roughly 16' wide and is only a 9 year old plant in less than ideal soil.

    I'm now going to start fighting or chose to remove a Firebird Crabapple that is 7' from the house. Can't imagine messing with a Redbud 5' from the house. Just saying...

  • Marie Tulin
    7 years ago

    Ilovemytrees, I'm not a professional grower either. But he guys are right, 5' is too close. You'll end up pruning the side next to the house and that will spoil its pretty natural shape. Part of the charm- in addition to the flowers- is the irregular full branching. Also, it won't get sun on the side next to the house; those back branches will die and you'll have a flat backed tree. No very pretty.

    As it fills out it will continue to stand out, even if it is planted 15 feet from the front. Wait until early fall and transplant it as far from the house as you reasonably can. Water regularly right through December. Next spring it probably will not miss a beat.

    Check out some pictures on the 'net, and get an idea of what a full grown one looks like. That'll give you an idea of how big a "small" tree can get!

  • rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7
    7 years ago

    Some lessons have to be learned by doing....we all know that. Ilovemytrees will probably rue her planting decision in a handful of years. Five feet is simply too close.

    We have one redbud on our property, sited at the back of a good sized back yard. When we moved here over ten years ago, it was in terrible shape and we planned to get rid of it within the first year.

    But, we mulched it, did some very miner pruning, fertilized it along with the grass, and KABOOM! It turned into a glorious tree that next spring. Crazy gorgeous.

    ilovemytrees thanked rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7
  • hamburglar1
    7 years ago

    I love redbuds. I have three now and they have all been very tough and vigorous. I planted one at Christmas last year when the ground was darn-near frozen, and the thing leafed out like a champ this spring after some brutally low temps. Had another one that was aggressively gnawed by deer to where it was a single stick coming out of the ground, and the thing bounced back to a respectable tree form in one growing season. Everyone focuses on the spring flowering, but I love the leaves as well.

    Agree with the others that the species and most of the cultivars are just not ideal foundation plants around buildings. Most of them grow pretty quickly and wind up much wider than tall. For the smaller ones like Covey, Pink Heartbreaker, etc., I think they look better in the front of a border/foundation bed than in the back against a wall. Just my two cents.

    ilovemytrees thanked hamburglar1
  • ilovemytrees
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    According to the Ebay seller I bought my Redbud tree from, he says the tree will only be 10-15ft wide. These are his words:

    Zones: 4-9

    Mature Height: 20-30 ft.
    Mature Width: 10-15 ft.
    Sunlight: Full or Partial
    Soil Conditions: Adaptable
    Drought Tolerance: Good


    I adore the location of this tree! It's on the SE side of our house. I don't want it any where else. I'm willing to suffer the possible consequences.

    Having said that, I will still be on this forum years from now, Godwilling, so have mercy on me if I come on here lamenting this decision I've made. lol

  • hamburglar1
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Don't worry about it, rules are meant to be broken. I have had a lot of success planting at the times the experts tell you to avoid (early winter, mid-summer, etc.). And some of our prettiest, wooded neighborhoods consist of picturesque oaks and other shade trees planted right on top of houses.

    The eBay seller is full of it though. You don't see mature redbuds that are twice as tall as wide. If a plantsman could figure out how to consistently breed a 25'x15' redbud, he would make a killing.

    ilovemytrees thanked hamburglar1
  • akamainegrower
    7 years ago

    ilovemytrees: I am resisting the temptation to ask what happened to your vow of no more Ebay plant purchases, but it's not easy. As for the redbud, it's your tree and you can plant it wherever you like. There is something else to keep in mind though that has not really been mentioned. When you plant a tree or many other plants in a place where the get no sunlight - in this case the side facing the house - from one direction and strong direct sun from another, you get a very odd growth pattern eventually. Your redbud will look like a two-dimensional version of itself. Often even the leaves turn not toward the sky but vertically toward the direction of strongest light. If redbuds were easier to move, I'd say keep it where it is and transplant it if its appearance begins to bother you. They are not, however, among the easier trees to put into a new spot after they've been growing for a while.

    ilovemytrees thanked akamainegrower
  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    7 years ago

    I am another fan of redbuds, and another vote for moving the tree out to at least 10 feet from the house, and preferably 15 feet. It will benefit both the tree and the house since you won't end up with branches rubbing against the siding and roof and the tree will grow more symmetrically. My redbud has been in the ground about 10 years and already is 15' wide, so I guarantee you will regret your placement. As others have said, you will end up needing to prune the back side, spoiling the lovely shape of your tree. Here is a link to the Missouri Botanical Garden's page on redbuds. They say 25-30 feet wide, so please consider what's best for your tree in the long run rather than how cute it looks now. MOBotG is a totally credible source of information if you don't believe all of us.

  • tlbean2004
    7 years ago

    Can you provide a pic of the tree? I would love to see what it looks like!

  • dbgeiger
    6 years ago

    Also a redbud fan... They grow well in the north east. There are many in Ithaca, NY and there used to be a huge grove of them (aptly named Redbud Woods) on the Cornell University campus on a western facing steep slope which would get the winds that came down Cayuga Lake. It was beautiful. As far as western NY, 'Covey' aka 'Lavender Twist' originated in Buffalo, NY. I have planted both C. canadensis multiple varieties and C. texensis 'Traveler' in Ithaca, NY, Chilmark, MA and now I have put some in at my Provincetown, MA location where I live, and it is a windy location at the top of a bluff.

    ilovemytrees thanked dbgeiger
  • PRO
    Northeast Nursery, Inc.
    6 years ago

    I live in the north shore of Massachusetts. I installed a Cercis Canadensis - Rising Sun Redbud last October - a 5 gallon container tree in a full sun area of my front yard - where there is decent drainage. Made it through the winter with no problems, and the tight lavender buds popped in April . The bark and branching is a light grey and it all appears to be healthy - all branches are still pliable. The tiny lime colored leaves that appeared after budding have now morphed into larger, darker leaves. Watering has been a consistent once / wk process, but we did have some pretty intense rainfall about a month ago.

    I began noticing slight drooping and wilting of the leaves right before the heavy rains we received. Since then, it has been dry and warm, and the leaves have gotten more wilted and curled. At the recommendation of one of our nursery managers, I tried soaking the root area. There has been no improvement, and the smaller leaves are now drying up. No spotting on the leaves or signs of leaf decay, and no insect issues.. If it weren't for the drooping and wilting of leaves, they'd look completely healthy. In other words, the color and structure of the leaves are fine.

    The Rising Sun Redbud is a relatively new cultivar, so not much to go on re. diseases, insect issues and tree care solutions... My first inclination was that the tree might be suffering from root rot or a root fungus - based on the wilting and curling of leaves. I checked the soil around the root ball, which is cool and moist, but not wet, and there is none of the distinct smell you commonly get with root rot... When soaking the root area, the water pooled then drained fairly quickly. If anyone has any information on the Rising Sun, this particular issue, and a possible solution please pass along.. Many thanks!

  • Smivies (Ontario - 5b)
    6 years ago

    Acquiring one of the hardier strains (eg. Minnesota strain) is worth the effort for zone 5 (& maybe zone 6) people. Nursery grown Redbud sold here in zone 5 often has dieback and lackluster flowering. In contrast the species in SW Ontario (north side of Lake Erie, zone 6) has naturalized and their progeny are hardy without issue to 5a with the occasional zone 4b winter thrown in.

  • hamburglar1
    6 years ago

    I have a rising sun and it has been a hardy champ for me. Made it through two legit zone five winters and bounced back from heavy deer browse with no problem. Seems to handle both wet and dry ok. Leaves may droop a little during dry spells, but not bad. Have another fancy redbud and it has been vigorous and tough as well. Other than the red leaf types, have not seen any zone 5b issues with redbuds in the neighborhood, unlike cherry.

  • Michael-Dominika Jacobs
    last year

    I have one the leaves are very large. It is out in the center of my front suburban yard in North Olmsted Ohio. Last year two wind storms broke both major limbs, so I cut it down to a six inch stump. It grew back this Summer and left three trunks, just had a moderately high storm and the largest branch broke. Any more damage and I may dig it up . The leaves are too large and catch the wind and snaps the limbs.

  • Marie Tulin
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Old, old post, I know. 'Rising Sun' is has been in the ground 3 years, so it is probably a 5 or 6 year old tree. With this one, my experience is weak crotches, branches divide and create more weak crotches; lots of limb breakage.. But all season long the foliage on .Rising Sun..is stunning. Kept their yellow, lime and gold colors, layered....nothing else like it. I am going to enjoy it for as long as it looks decent but I'm not going to nurse a battered twig (if that's what it becomes one winter). Then it will have to go and I'll make a better choice. In climates with snow, especially heavy wet snow, I think you have to get it through enough winters until the branches can handle some snow load. I'm not sure how you'd prune these so you wouldn't have deep split crotches, which can split right down the trunk and tear off branches. a lovely tree but it has faults.

  • cearbhaill (zone 6b Eastern Kentucky)
    last year

    I have three Rising Suns and have never noticed any extreme breakage or weak crotches, not even in last years ice storm. They fared much better than a couple of other Cercis cultivars I have, Forest Pansy being the most prone to storm damage of any of mine.

  • Janey Cat
    last year

    I live in Southern Ontario Canada. We've had a few storms which involved pretty heavy winds and it does just fine. It seems quite pliable.

  • DBV DBV
    2 months ago

    Curious if anyone has tried Flame Thrower or Carolina Sweetheart yet and if so how are they doing? I live in NE Ohio area, but by Lake Erie. Typically redbuds do very well in my yard and really like the look of those too.


    It is hard to find any pics on the web of either those in mature size, as I think they have been more recently introduced.


    I am also looking at a Golden Falls weeping redbud. Think redbuds are such cool trees.