The Cercis Canadensis is better known as the Redbud, Eastern Redbud or Judas tree. There are several varieties available including the Covey, Forest Pansy and Silver Cloud. The Redbud is native to the eastern United States and is actually the state tree for Oklahoma. The tree is small and produces showy pink flowers in the spring.
This popular tree is available from nurseries and should be planted in a moist, well-drained area. The tree prefers sunlight and is often seen leaning toward available light when found naturally in a wooded area. The blooms attract butterflies and the heart shaped leaves provide plenty of shade. The tree will grow to a height of approximately 15 feet depending on the variety chosen. It will spread to the same height it grows so the Covey that reaches 10 feet high will also spread 10 feet.
The Redbud produces showy pink flowers annually. Green leaves that turn yellow in the fall follow these flowers. The tree requires fertilizer on a regular schedule. Apply fertilizer away from stems and trunks on April 1, May 20, July 4, August 15 and October 30. The Redbud grows quickly until it reaches maturity and this feeding schedule will help the tree reach its full height and spread. Don’t overwater the tree and ensure the roots do not sit in standing water to prevent fungus and allow for maximum growth.
The Cercis Canadensis is susceptible to several insects and pests. Tree Hoppers lay their eggs under the bark of the twigs. They are evident by the white, sticky froth that covers the eggs. Utilize horticulture oil designed for dormant pests and spray the tree.
Scale insects are another pest common on Redbud trees. These small insects may even appear to be part of the growth of the tree. They appear as crusty bumps, most frequently on new growth. Spray them with horticulture oil to suffocate the insect. In the spring, when the new insects are hatched, spray with Bug Buster or another insecticide specific to scale to prevent the infection from spreading.
Spider mites are very small and may be difficult to identify. Use a magnifying glass to inspect the underside of leaves for tiny specks that may look like spots of pepper. An alternative is to hold a piece of white paper under several leaves and tap the leaves to dislodge the insects. They can be seen clearly on the white paper. Once an infection is identified it is crucial to treat before the heat of the summer. The infestation will grow very quickly during hot months. Spray the tree with Bug Buster or another commercial insecticide specific to spider mites. Concentrate on applying it to the underside of leaves and in leaf crotches, as this is where the insect lives and lays eggs.
Cercis Canadensis is a beautiful ornamental tree that does not require a lot of care. Annual pruning and watering as needed during a drought will keep the tree in good health for its entire life.