KC Gardens

What’s happening to my redbud tree?


For the second year our tree is full of brown seed pods. I have probably pulled up a million little redbud shoots. The tree is ugly and the flowers were completely covered by the pods. Is the tree dying or should we cut it down? I have noticed that other trees in our area are not doing this. Thanks for your input. - Kathy


Many, many Redbuds in the area are exhibiting exactly what you describe. That the seedpods are hanging on may be a result of the sudden very hard freeze we had last November, or just a characteristic of the tree in our climate. It is not a sign that the tree is dying. Eventually the pods will fall.

Now, regarding the beauty of the tree, or lack thereof, if the tree is otherwise healthy, with no great amount of branch die back, whether to replace it or not is up to you. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Redbuds typically last about 20 years in our climate. If you want to replace the tree, here is the link to a bulletin from Johnson County Research and Extension on Small Trees: http://www.johnson.ksu.edu/doc55823.ashx .

Hope this helps.

Carole-Johnson County Extension Master Gardener