Languishing Redbud Tree

Asked June 6, 2019, 9:44 AM EDT

Part of the Eastern Redbud in my back field has brown leaves as shown in two of the accompanying photos. The tree has been remarkably healthy its last eight years in this location, but the leaves on the upper (less sunny) side are dry and brown as the photo indicates. One limb rubs against another, and I can correct that by pruning, but I'm curious about the foliage dieback. I use no herbicides or other chemicals in my gardening, and thus, cannot account for this tree's current condition, as there have been no recent changes to its immediate environment. I'd be grateful for any information you can provide. Many thanks.

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

We don't see any specific disease or insect signs in the photos. However, there may be a canker in the shady area of the third photo. A close-up of the base of the tree may be helpful.

It appears that all the dieback is from one trunk/major branch. We'd recommend that you remove it. It will not improve.

Redbuds, especially ones stressed by too-wet soils (and with our abnormal rainfall, a lot of trees are drowning), will attract an insect known as ambrosia beetles that bores into the trunks. Look for boring holes. Send photos of those, too, if you find any.

We may be able to be more specific if you send more photos.