Tree Notes is about trees -- especially native trees, trees for wildlife, and trees in history.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Redbud tree in autumn

Cercis canadensis


Redbud in autumn foliage

This nice little redbud tree grows in front of the Christian County Water District office in Hopkinsville, KY. The building shelters it a little from the weather, so that's probably why it still has so many of its leaves in the middle of November.

The white building provides a dramatic backdrop to the redbud when it blooms. Sometimes people plant redbuds against a background of evergreen trees to showcase the bright lavender blossoms. These strategies highlight the autumn color of the redbud as well as its spring blooms.

The golden yellow of this tree's leaves is the typical fall color of the species. If you could look up into this tree's branches, you'd probably see some of its seed pods. The redbud is a legume and it produces a "bean pod." The pods are brown, flat, and up to four inches long.

The branches of redbud trees are usually more sprawling and widespread than this. I suspect that this tree has been pruned or topped to keep it away from the electric wire at the upper left of the photo. Redbuds can grow up to 35 feet in height, so they're not a good tree to plant under power lines.

I suppose you could plant a redbud seed, but it's easier to transplant a little tree that has sprouted in the wild. Move them in spring or in autumn, keeping as much dirt as possible around the roots by using the ball and burlap technique.

Or buy a young tree from a nursery. Various cultivars are available. Some even have white or pink blooms rather than the lavender that is usually seen in the wild redbuds.

Related posts:
Native beauties: Redbud and dogwood
Eastern redbud: A tree I love

2 comments -- please add yours:

mark said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dan said...

Have you ever seen a European Redbud? They are quite common in Southern Spain where I live.

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Enrich your life with the study of trees.

"The power to recognize trees at a glance without examining their leaves or flowers or fruit as they are seen, for example, from the car-window during a railroad journey, can only be acquired by studying them as they grow under all possible conditions over wide areas of territory. Such an attainment may not have much practical value, but once acquired it gives to the possessor a good deal of pleasure which is denied to less fortunate travelers."

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Print references I frequently consult

Benvie, Sam. Encyclopedia of North American Trees. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2000.

Brockman, C. Frank. Trees of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Ed. Herbert S. Zim. New York: Golden, 1986.

Cliburn, Jerry, and Ginny Clomps. A Key to Missouri Trees in Winter: An Identification Guide. Conservation Commission of the State of Missouri, 1980.

Collingwood, G. H., Warren David Brush, and Devereux Butcher. Knowing Your Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1978.

Dirr, Michael. Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs: an Illustrated Encyclopedia. Portland, Or.: Timber, 1997.

Elias, Thomas S. The Complete Trees of North America; Field Guide and Natural History. New York: Book Division, Times Mirror Magazines, 1980.

Grimm, William Carey. The Book of Trees;. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1962.

Hightshoe, Gary L. Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America: a Planting Design Manual for Environmental Designers. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1988.

Little, Elbert L. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees. New York: Chanticleer, 1996.

Martin, Alexander C., Herbert S. Zim, and Arnold L. Nelson. American Wildlife and Plants. New York: McGraw Hill, 1951.

Mitchell, Alan F., and David More. The Trees of North America. New York, NY: Facts On File Publications, 1987.

Randall, Charles E. Enjoying Our Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1969.

Settergren, Carl D., and R. E. McDermott. Trees of Missouri. Columbia: University Extension, 1995.

Sternberg, Guy, and James W. Wilson. Native Trees for North American Landscapes: from the Atlantic to the Rockies. Portland: Timber, 2004.

Wharton, Mary E., and Roger W. Barbour. Trees and Shrubs of Kentucky. Lexington: University of Kentucky, 1973.

Wyman, Donald. Trees for American Gardens. New York: Macmillan, 1965.

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