Redbud Tree
November 4, 2022

For many years I have admired the Redbud Tree. I have gone out of my way to visit

some of what I consider the most beautiful trees. Always around Mother’s Day, they

are usually in full spring bloom. The most satisfying gift I could give to myself.

If you decide to plant one yourself, you will benefit from good planning.

You need to start with location and allow enough room for growth. In Wisconsin you

need to be in zone 5 and plant in a southwest location which will be protected from

the winter winds. I was fortunate enough to have my home block the winter winds.

I have also seen mature evergreen trees do the same job. Once you pick the spot you

need to measure out how big the tree should get at maturity (please do not skip this

step). Please do not plant near telephone lines if you care enough about not

butchering your tree as it gets older. Loosen the roots on the bottom of the root ball

and then measure the height and width of the root ball. Dig the hole 3 times the

width and 3/4 of the height. Then place the tree in the hole to see where ground

level is in reference to where the bottom of the trunk of the tree meets the top roots

that begin to grow out (root flare). It is important not to disturb more of the depth of

the ground than needed because you need that compacted earth to keep your tree

from sinking to low. You can then take the tree out and shave down a little more of

the hole if needed. The root flare should be level with the ground surrounding the

hole. If you notice the ground that you dug out is mostly clay, you will need to

amend your soil before returning it into the hole surrounding your tree. If you

already know what your ground is like, you will have peat moss and mushroom

compost on hand to amend your soil. You can test the PH of your soil with a simple

home tester that you can buy at your local garden store. The proper PH for a Redbud

is above 7.5. To increase the PH, you add some form of lime, like agricultural

limestone. To lower the PH, you add aluminum sulfate.

It is helpful if someone holds the tree level in the hole as you fill in around the tree.

After your tree is planted in the hole you need to add 2-3 inches of mulch. Sprinkled

around the tree, not compacted, avoiding the trunk of the tree by about an inch.

A multi-purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer works well. This should be done three to four

times per year starting in late April and ending in mid-July.

Water slowly, the water stream should be the size of a baby finger for about 1/2 hour

2 times per week for the first month after planting. Then once weekly for months 2

and 3. If it rains ½ to one inch, don’t water.