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Red Bud Trees

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April 3, 2020

Dr. Gary Bachman: We have many flowering native trees in Mississippi, but one certainly gets its fair share of attention, today on Southern Gardening.

Announcer: Southern Gardening with Gary Bachman is produced by the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Dr. Gary Bachman: The flowering native tree I'm referring to is redbud. This tree flowers early in the spring before most of the other trees have started to leaf out after their winter's nap. Redbud are a readily adaptable species that can tolerate many different soil and climactic conditions. It is a fairly uncommon species in the coastal counties. Redbud much more common north of a line drawn through Hattiesburg. The flowers are gorgeous in the spring. The flower color ranges from clear light pink to purplish pink. There are even white flowered selections.

The flowers are grouped in clusters held tightly against the branches. Individual flowers closely resemble pea flowers. Redbud is a member of the legume family and produces flat brown seed pods.

Grown under optimal conditions, redbud is a small tree. The general tree form has a short trunk and a rounded umbrella-like crown. The foliage emerges after the flowering with heart shaped leaves that can be three to five inches across. There are selections such as forest pansy having bulldog maroon colored leaves.

One question I have received recently concerns the flower color of redbud. If the flowers are pink, why is it called redbud? This was a great question that had me scratching my head a little. Looking at the flower buds as they are beginning to open, it becomes readily apparent. The outer layer of bud scales are a deep red color. Redbud is a good choice for adding that punch a spring color to your landscape. Great uses for redbud would be as a specimen or in a shrub boarder. I'm horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

Announcer: Southern Gardening with Gary Bachman is produced by the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

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