Brian2412
Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:43 pm
Location: Richland, WA

Help me Recover this Redbud Tree (Photos Attached)

I've recently moved to Richland, WA (Eastern Washington) and have a struggling Redbud tree in the back yard. We are zone 7 (although, probably closer to a high 6). My soil is like beach sand when I dig. I have plenty of water available, but this is a desert (hot summers, cold winters with minimal precip ~7 inches a year). At the recommendation of the local nursery, I added soil amendments to try to help the tree (cutting out grass around the base) and mixing native soil with compost. I've also staked it to help with our high spring winds.

Attached are photo's of the tree. The first photo is unedited. The second photo includes labels of the branches for easier discussion. The third photo shows my proposed pruning cuts (in red). One thing of note is that branch A (right above the Y) didn’t produce any leaves this year and appears dead. The house was built in 2005 so I can assume that the tree was planted some time since then… I plan on pruning all of my trees in the late winter, but before spring (probably early February). Can you please give me advice? Thanks!

[img]https://myimgs.net/images/nfrh.jpg[/img]
[img]https://myimgs.net/images/oprm.jpg[/img]
[img]https://myimgs.net/images/lrep.jpg[/img]

bullthistle
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:26 pm
Location: North Carolina

Don't have a clue about WA but you shouldn't have a problem but you indicated the tree was already planted when you moved in. After pruning anytime between now and FEB, I would dig up the tree, mark the existing dripline for the ball and make certain about the soil under the tree. You said there is water below the surface even in the "desert" and that could be your problem. Before backfilling, you'll see how the roots spread out and if they didn't then you'll know the problem, add some bonemeal.

Brian2412
Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:43 pm
Location: Richland, WA

I'm sorry, I must have not been very clear in my description. I live in the desert...when I mentioned I had abundant water, I was referring to irrigation water from the Columbia River. The soil is well draining and is just like beach sand.

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bewildered_nmsu
Senior Member
Posts: 118
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:39 am
Location: Las Cruces, NM

Your pruning plan sounds perfect, just use sharp pruning shears and make clean cuts close to the trunk. I live in the desert as well and see these "hot weather/sandy soil" problems on a regular basis (I work at a greenhouse). By far the most common mistakes that I see people making in these conditions are under-watering and under-fertilizing. It's likely that your tree is just week from under-watering and bad soil nutrition. In sandy soils water is required every other day when the leaves are still on the trees and once a week when they aren't. This is generally true for tree species though there are exceptions. For fertilizer, mulch you tree with course compost or manure in the spring then fertilize once a month with water soluble fertilizer (or granules as the tree matures). In sandy soils, mulch and regular fertilizer is essential due to the soils lack of organic nutrients.

Note: You should see healthy growth and branches that don't die but don't expect immediate spectacular results. Cercis is a slow growing species.

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