Red Bud trees

(Question)

Our young Red Bud died this past winter here in Windsor. We’ve chopped it down but were unable to get the roots. Obviously now we have lots of branches growing from below(suckers?). I don’t know if we should prune them so we can have a small shrub next spring or try trimming to to a few strong branches and support them so we have a “tree.” I’m not sure our shrub would ever produce flowers if we continue to trim it. Hopefully in a few years we may have flowers again. ?? Will it grow into a flowering tree ?
Thank you for any help.

(Answer)

Last winter was very hard on so many of our shrubs and trees, and I think that you may be fighting a losing battle with the Eastern Redbud (Cercis Canadensis) that you chopped down. Severe pruning will ruin the Redbuds’s naturally rounded shape and can have a negative impact on its vigour and health. Usually sprouts from the base are healthy and vigorous, but seldom sturdy or attractive. They can be prone to breakage and insect problems too.

Usually Redbud trees that have experienced twig kill and bud kill, or those with less than 50 percent of their lateral branches killed back, can recover from a harsh winter with drastic pruning over several growing seasons. Remove heavily damaged branches first, cutting at an angle upwards from the tree’s trunk. Make sure to keep the branch collar intact as this will prevent bark stripping.  Make sure not to cut back more than 1/3 of the tree’s branches at any one time. Pay attention to foliage recovery, rather than concentrating on flowers.
In order to stop the plant from continuing to sucker, you must continue to cut back sprouts/suckers until they exhaust their food supply and die off completely as the roots cannot keep sending up sprouts indefinitely.

You may wish to refer to our other posting on Winter Damage Eastern Redbud