Friday, April 24, 2009

Redbuds are valuable ornamental trees

Redbud trees are adaptable, carefree and a colorful Ozarks native tree according to Patrick Byers, a horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“The redbud is also useful for many places in the home landscape where a small to medium size ornamental tree is needed,” said Byers. “Redbuds are a valuable ornamental tree for home landscapes, no matter the size of yard.”

The Missouri Botanical garden also lists the redbud as resistant to deer and Japanese beetles.

The main attraction to the redbud is the bloom period, which generally begins in late March in southwest Missouri and lasts for several weeks. The native redbud has lovely purple to lavender blossoms, shaped like those of the sweet pea (this tree is a member of the pea family).

There are also white flowering redbuds, and horticultural forms that have larger flowers and reddish foliage (Forest Pansy is a good example).

Redbuds are attractive during other times of the growing season: seed pods are of interest, the fall foliage is yellow, and the bark has interesting texture during the dormant season.

“Interestingly, the redbud is also an edible plant. You can enjoy the flowers in salads, and boil or pickle the seed pods when young and tender,” said Byers.

This particular tree does best when established when young and left undisturbed.

For more information on growing successful redbud trees see MU Extension guide sheet G6805, “Selecting Landscape Plants – Flowering Trees.”

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