The Avondale redbud tree (Cercis chinensis avondale) is the showiest of the redbuds and an outstanding small landscape tree to grow in USDA planting zones 9 through 6. Grow it as a standard or single trunk tree, or choose the multi-stemmed shrub version. Either form blooms profusely in early spring, covered in glowing dark pink flowers. The tree reaches 10 to 15 feet in height and up to 15 feet across, making it workable even in small spaces. Incorporate Avondale redbud trees into a lawnscape, shrub border or even a foundation planting.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Slow release fertiliser spikes
Buy a healthy Avondale redbud tree or shrub. Examine the branches to insure that no signs of disease (such as fungus) are present. For best results, obtain the largest specimen available. A tree that is 3 or 4 feet tall in a 5-gallon container will probably bloom abundantly the first year. Smaller trees, such as 2-foot trees purchased in two gallon containers, will still bloom but may not make a real impact in the garden for several years.
Choose a prime planting location, taking into account the way Avondale redbuds change with the seasons. Glossy heart shaped green leaves appear after the flowers fade and then seedpods develop. The leaves turn yellow in autumn providing fall interest. In winter, the dark leafless branches look attractive against a light coloured house or wall. The Avondale redbud is a good lawn tree that looks good solo in groupings of two or three whether the tree or shrub form is used. Provide full sun and a well drained position. Choose a location where the roots of the tree will not be disturbed.
Plant the Avondale redbud tree. Measure the depth of the root ball. Use a shovel to dig a hole the same depth plus 6 inches and twice as wide. Loosen the soil in the bottom, then add 6 inches of dirt back into the hole. Carefully remove any covering, such as burlap, without disturbing the roots. Improve drainage of clay soils by mixing in sand and vermiculite. Position the tree in the hole taking care not to break or injure roots. Plant the tree level with the soil grade. For clay soil, plant 1 or 2 inches above the soil line. Do not add fertiliser. Tamp down the soil firmly and create a catch basin with the remaining soil around the perimeter. Water well, then spread bark mulch to a depth of 3 to 4 inches.
Water the Avondale redbud tree every day for the first three days. Then water every other day for two weeks. Do not allow the soil to dry out. Keep the tree well watered the first year and be careful not to disturb the roots. After the first growing season, fertilise with slow release fertiliser spikes each spring or scatter a slow release granular fertiliser around the base of the tree. Water the Avondale redbud during drought to avoid stress.
Watch for fungal and rot diseases. Prune diseased branches in winter after the leaves have dropped and before any new growth starts. Avoid digging around the roots of Avondale redbud trees. Do not plant anything underneath the trees including spring bulbs or annual bedding plants. The trees set seed later in the year and make pea pod shaped seed pods. After the leaves and pods are shed, sweep up seedpods with the fall leaves to avoid many tiny trees sprouting underneath the Avondale redbud the following spring.
Tips and warnings
- Avondale redbud trees provide excellent shade for small courtyards.
- Use the trees in larger patio containers.
- The Don Egolf redbud is similar to Avondale but does not set seeds or have seedpods.
- The Avondale redbud looks good at the edge of a wood or in any naturalised setting.
- Observe the planting location during various times of the day to avoid planting in a taller tree's shadow.
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