What's wrong with my Redbud?

Asked June 2, 2015, 11:09 PM EDT

My twenty year old redbud tree appears all but dead this spring. I saw that the redbud trees at the Arboretum looked bad, too. (Little leaf growth, appear dead) Did something happen this winter to affect them?

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Three major diseases affect redbuds (Botryosaphaeria canker, verticillium wilt and leaf anthracnose). Botryosaphaeria canker has open wounds or sunken black spots on the twigs. Verticillium wilt disease causes sections of the tree leaves to appear wilted. Anthracnose causes yellowing or browning along the veins of the leaves and eventually total browning and loss of leaves. In severe cases all of the leaves on a tree are lost. Anthracnose is a fungal disease that spreads during cool, wet springs. The fungus is spread by water splash from infected areas to non-infected areas. To keep it from spreading you must remove all fallen brown leaves and prune out diseased areas on trees. There is no treatment for anthracnose once a tree is heavily infected. Stressed trees succumb to disease. Many areas of the state had very dry soil last fall and late winter. Keep your trees well watered in times of dry weather. Redbuds are an understory tree that is fairly shade tolerant. Unfortunately it is a relatively short-lived tree (25 years or so). It often develops wood rot as it ages.

http://extension.illinois.edu/treeselector/detail_plant.cfm?PlantID=195

http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/protecting-from-winter-damage/

Often tree have die back from a combination of many stresses. https://philadelphiagreen.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/urban-stress-on-trees.pdf