PDT Outdoors Columnist
The redbud tree is an under-story tree that grows throughout the eastern U.S. It is a rather ordinary tree in the woods in winter and summer – it’s a small tree with green leaves. This is not the case in my world. I see this little gem as unique and full of opportunity.
The spring bloom of the redbud is unbeatable. I say this because it is a red-purple or magenta display in the woods. That’s unique – not to be confused with anyone else out there. Not only is this a radiant eye-catching bloom, but its timing is perfect. This is Mother Nature’s billboard heralding spring. If you read between the lines she’s just sayin’, “For a good time, get out here amongst us and check my bloomers.”
It’s this bright bloom on naked twigs that lets us know about the status of the annual spring phenomenon that’s about to happen, and if you don’t want to miss it, you’d best get to where the gravel all ends and get a little mud on your tires and boots. What Miss Redbud is trying to tell you is that she doesn’t even have any leaves on yet and this is truly one of the first signs of spring. This is also a time for song birds, forsythia, daffodil, and dogwood bloom.
I grow many redbud for many reasons. Number one – they’re special in two seasons. – spring bloom and a beautiful clear yellow fall color on their heart-shaped leaf. Number two – they live. They transplant well. Number three – the redbud comes in enough different forms that they fit many landscape situations. I will grow some as a single trunk tree form, and others I will braid (as a fig). These are all the native (cercis Canadensis) redbud.
The redbud has some interesting cultivars, also. We have grown “Forest Pansy” for many years. This is a dwarf red- leafed red bud. “Lavender Twist” is a new variety that has a twisted weeping form. “Alba” is the white- blooming redbud, and “Oklahoma,” “Wither’s Pink,” and “Flame” are others worth mention.
The real truth is that this is one scenario that I believe is special enough left in its natural state. This little beauty has so much natural beauty and charisma that I’m impressed with her, just the way she is. Of course, that “just the way she is” is misleading too. She ends up growing in many forms in the nursery – single trunk, multi-stem (clump), and braided. This will fit most sites.
I also raise a historic redbud. It’s from the seeds of a tree in Oklahoma at the end of the “Trail of Tears.” As mama always did say, “Pretty is as pretty does.” The redbud has stunning beauty in two seasons and she fits into many situations. Try it you’ll like it.
Dudley Wooten can be reached at 740-820-8210 or by visiting wootenslandscaping.com