Attached is a picture taken yesterday (June 3) of a red bud clump/tree I...

Asked June 4, 2014, 2:33 PM EDT

Attached is a picture taken yesterday (June 3) of a red bud clump/tree I bought from Gerten's last year. As you can see, it is doing very poorly. There were no flowers, and the leaves and suckers only began appearing in the last two weeks. My best guess is that the tree is all but dead, that the leaves and suckers are just its last gasp, and they the tree will either die this summer or fail to come up next fall. What do you think and what is your recommendation. Gerten's guaranteed it for five years. Should I just ask them to replace it, or should I wait and see what happens? Thanks for your advice.

Hennepin County Minnesota

3 Responses

Redbuds are marginally hardy in MN. This winter was very hard on marginally hardy trees. Many trees around the state have bud damage and dieback. Compare the buds on the branches the have leafed out to the buds on the branches that have not leafed out. Lightly scrape the tip of a branch that is not leafing out. If the branch is alive then the cambium will be green. If the branch is dead the cambium will be brown. Prune off the dead wood. Some redbuds are grown as a clump form and others are grown as a single stem. Northern Strain Redbud is a small tree with a mature height of 20 to 30 feet and a spread of 25 to 35 feet. As it matures, it develops crooked branches and an irregular. It has a low canopy. The tree grows quite rapidly when young but assumes a moderate growth rate after 10 years. Decide whether you will be happy with the clump form. Contact your vendor and ask for their recommendations. Mulch the tree and water it during dry periods.

hanks much for the info.

I have checked the tree and have a bit more info for you and some questions. I will number my items to facilitate your response.

1. The tree is a clump with about 6 stalks.

2. I checked the branches and those on 2 of the 6 stalks appear to be dead. The branches on the other 4 stalks are in various states. I am cutting off about 1/3 of them where the cambium is not green.

3. None of the surving stalks and branches have a lot of leaves, but they have some, some of which are small.

4. There are probably a dozen suckers coming from the base of the tree. Should I cut them off?

5. The tree, which they planted, is guaranteed. My bottom line question is if I am better off trying to get them to replace it this year or wait and see how it does? Even if it came back next year, would it be a hardy/happy/full as a new tree planted this year?


Mike Graves

It is best to replace the tree.