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Cercis canadensis


Cercis canadensis
Eastern redbud

Culture: The redbuds are native under-story trees, preferring to grow in the rich, moist, well-drained soils in shaded locations. I have heard some debate regarding the placement of this species in regards to lighting. Placement in full shade encourages a dense upper canopy, causing dieback on branches below and encouraging cankers and diseases. If a tree becomes infected with canker, it can be cut back to the ground to encourage growth of suckers. Because of the already extensive root system, these suckers will grow quickly, and within a matter of years a tree of substantial size will have replaced the more venerable one.

Canker and Verticillium wilt can both cause extensive dieback of major branches of this species. Seriously affected trees and old failing specimens often quickly re-grow from suckers. Eastern Redbud is naturally fairly short-lived, often declining after 40 or 50 years. Caterpillars, scales, and leafhoppers can be minor problems.

Usage: This is by far one of my favorite native under-story plants, providing a dazzling display of pinkish magenta flowers. The fine texture of the flowers and the subtle color don't make it as much of a showstopper as simply providing an "effect." It is excellent as a specimen, in massed plantings, and in shaded under-stories.

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