News and Blog Articles
News and Blog Articles
Tree of the Month: Eastern Redbud
With spring just around the corner, Athens is in for a colorful transformation any day now. Between the various city-scaping, crepe myrtles, Bradford pears, and other flowering trees, everywhere you look you’ll see flowers blooming. But today we’re here to talk about one of the prettiest flowering trees of all: the Eastern redbud.
Scientifically known as Cercis canadensis, and sometimes colloquially referred to as the Judas tree, the Eastern redbud is a medium-sized species famous for its stunning display of pinkish-purple blooms. Though they don’t offer much in the way of fall color, these trees are still highly popular for ornamental use in backyards and parking lots alike, thanks to their stunning spring display and low-effort maintenance.
To start, they aren’t picky about their soil. Eastern redbuds can thrive in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, well-drained and clay soils, making them well-suited to the Georgia red clay found everywhere in this area.
They prefer full sun to partial shade, needing about 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight a day to thrive – not a big ask here in the South. Their moderate watering requirements once established are usually met by the average rainfall here, so beyond watering when you first plant one, you don’t have to worry about them much.
Eastern redbuds are also one of the faster-growing tree species, so you won’t have to wait long for your landscape design to come together. You will easily see between 1 to 2 feet of height growth per year until your tree reaches maturity. You won’t have to wait long for flowers, either, as these trees can start showing off as early as four years old!
On average, Eastern redbuds will top out around 20 to 30 feet tall, with a similar crown spread averaging 25 to 35 feet wide. This makes them the perfect size for the average front or backyard – big enough that you can’t miss it, but small enough that you don’t have to fear it falling on your house or shed!
Most Eastern redbuds will feature one or more short trunks with a tall, rounded crown (sometimes compared to the shape of an umbrella). The crown is comprised of visually engaging, zig-zagging branches and twigs.
The leaves of the Eastern redbud are idyllically heart-shaped and average between 3 to 5 inches long, putting them squarely on the larger end of the leaf size spectrum. When they first emerge in their alternating pattern, they range from deep red to reddish-brown in color before turning dark green for the summer. In the fall, they pale to a green-ish yellow.
The bark of the Eastern redbud is generally gray with scales, giving the trunk and thicker branches some interesting texture to show off in the colder months. New growth comes in dark reddish-brown to black, setting up the perfect contrasting background for the real star of the show: the flowers.
As early as April, the Eastern redbud beings to develop pea-like flowers that range from light pink to pinkish-purple in color, often with varying shades present on a single petal. As a ramiflorous species, the flowers and fruit grow on bare branches, usually before any leaves appear. With no green to break up the view, the Eastern redbud in full bloom presents a stunning picture of bright pink purple flowers that stand out starkly against their darker branches.
These pretty flowers yield brownish-black pods, known as legumes, that average 2 to 3 inches long. Often, these seed pods will linger on the tree well into the winter, before finally dropping to be dispersed by local wildlife.
Emily Casuccio is sister and sister-in-law to Rebekah and Scott Rushing, and has over half a decade of experience in copywriting, copyediting, proofreading, and developmental storyboarding. She's worked with both published and undiscovered authors on both fiction and nonfiction, and takes pride in supporting local businesses. Her passion lies in the written word and helping authors of all capacities realize their dreams and achieve their fullest potential. To learn more about her, read samples of her work, or contact her, visit her online portfolio.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.