Last year I planted a forest pansy redbud. About five foot specimen. It never flowered this spring. I saw the buds on the tree, but they seemed to fall off rather than open. The tree is now leafing out.
Why didn’t the flowers open? I saw many flowering redbuds around Toronto.
Is it something to do with it being the first spring for the tree?
What should I be doing to care for the tree?
Cercis Canadensis, commonly known as Eastern Redbud, easily grows in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Part shade is best in hot summer climates. It performs best in moderately fertile soils with regular and consistent moisture. Avoid wet or poorly drained soils. Since this tree does not transplant well, it should be planted when young and left undisturbed.
The Canadian hardiness zone is 6a for “Forest Pansy” redbud, so your tree will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location.
Eastern Redbud fixes its own nitrogen, so only a light (if any) nitrogen fertilizer is recommended. Too much nitrogen will promote leaves and prevent blooming. A good topdressing of a well rotted compost would benefit your soil and tree, and now would be a great time to do that. Also consider applying a loose mulch about 4-5 inches thick on top of the compost, but leave a space of about 6 – 12 inches between the mulch and the trunk of the tree. Do not create a volcano or have the mulch touch the tree trunk.
Also, if your tree is planted within a lawn, it is a good idea to remove the lawn grass sod from around the base of the tree as this will remove any competition your tree has for vital nutrients and water.
Flower buds are clustered at the nodes and new ones are formed at the same nodes every year, so that large clusters of flower buds develop on older stems. Producing flowers takes a tremendous amount of energy in a plant and, like humans, they need a certain amount of maturity before they become productive. Be patient, your tree is still young and is just settling in to it’s new home so give it time to get established.