In order to care for forest pansy redbud trees, you should know a little about the characteristics of these trees. Forest pansy redbud trees are cultivars of Cercis canadensis, also known as Eastern redbud. They are deciduous, medium-sized trees that are native to the eastern United States. Growing up to 25 feet in height and almost as wide, forest pansy has a rounded well-balanced shape and moderate growth habit. Eastern redbuds all have roundish to heart-shaped leaves that turn color when frost hits. Forest pansy redbud trees flower before they leaf out in spring and pink blossoms cover branch tips and stems. After flowering, forest pansy's singular purple leaves unfurl, making the tree a focal point in the garden.
Although redbuds tolerate full sun, forest pansy keeps its color best shaded from hot, drying afternoon sun. Locate the tree under the canopy of taller trees or on an East-facing side of your garden. Forest pansy tolerates different soil types, but prefers well draining loamy mixes. Burnt or shriveled leaves indicate that your tree has too much intense direct sun.
Plant your tree before it leafs out in spring after any danger of frost has passed. Dig a hole that is somewhat deeper than, and twice as wide as, your potted tree. Mix any soil amendments or mulch into the native soil. Place the forest pansy securely in the center of the cavity and then backfill the hole with the soil mixture. Gently press down with the palms of your hands, tamping down the soil, to secure the tree in its location. Make sure to water new plantings deeply to encourage deep root growth and keep the soil from drying out during hot dry spells. Mature forest pansy redbuds are relatively pest free, if they have a favorable location.
Chronically soggy soil or warm, moist conditions can lead to canker and Verticillum wilt. Canker is the most frequent problem that pansy redbuds encounter. The Botryosphaeria ribis fungus causes dieback on branches. The cankers resulting from the fungal attack start small, then grow to encircle an entire branch. The canker prevents any nutrients from passing through it and the branch beyond the diseased patch dies. You can only control, not cure canker. Cut off any infected branches as soon as they become infected, and dip your shears in a bleach solution to avoid spreading the disease to healthy plants.
The Verticillium fungus causes Verticillum wilt, which kills redbuds. Originating from the soil, the fungus spreads throughout the tree, blocking and destroying the water and nutrition pathways in the tree. Again, you must cut out any infected parts of the trees and disinfect pruning tools carefully. Spray affected branches with liquid copper to limit the spread of the fungus.
Forest pansy has a naturally rounded shape and does not require any pruning. Remove any unwanted or twiggy growth on the interior of the tree's canopy in early spring, if needed. In general, the forest pansy does well when allowed to settle into informal woodland setting with minimal shaping or cutting. The deep-red leaves contrast well against background foliage and brighten up shady corners of the garden.