Is my redbud dying?
My redbud was planted 5 years ago and has a trunk circumference of 13" just below the first branch. I don't know the cultivar, but its flowers are a little more reddish and the leaves glossier than the native variety. Now that the tree has leafed out, I can see there is significant die-back involving at least a couple of large branches, and it seems to have put out an unusually large amount of seed pods. Three years ago the tree lost its leader and two other significant branches when a neighbor's tree toppled onto it, although the wounds left after pruning seemed to heal with no problem. Also, the bark is peeling off the first few inches of trunk above the ground, which may be the result of landscapers piling too much mulch around it (and me forgetting to dig it back out). The remaining leaves look nice and green and glossy - no sign of insect damage. So my question is: does this tree looked doomed to you? If so, I'll make plans to replace it in the fall. I do like redbuds, so if there's a particular cultivar you'd recommend for this area, I'd appreciate knowing about it.
It looks like it is time to replace your redbud. There are many good cultivars of redbuds available, too many to list here. Go to your local garden center, see what they have, get the cultivar names that you like, and get back to us and we can check to see if they are recommended. You could also ask your garden center if the cultivar is one that Michael Dirr, the author of Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, likes. Many garden centers have this book onsite. You could also search on the Internet for the cultivar you have selected to see if major universities recommend that specific cultivar.