Could you kindly provide me with instruction on how to trim my rising sun redbud. It is too wide and I’d like to get some height. I’d like the tree to grow upwards before the canopy is allowed to spread. Can I prune the branch tips or will this hinder the canopy growth when it gets 12-15 ft. tall. Thanks
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners. Your Rising Sun Eastern redbud (Cercis Canadensis ‘JN2’ The Rising Sun) is such a beautiful native tree, and so unusual with its multi-coloured heart-shaped foliage through most of the season. This is a smaller tree than the species or other cultivars which grow to 20-30’ tall. The Rising Sun Eastern redbud grows to an average height of 8-12’ and width of 8-12’. It has a more or less rounded form, and its canopy is typically about 3 feet from the ground. Your tree looks very much like this !
Tipping or pruning back lateral branches to reduce the width of the crown is not recommended because it is harmful to the health of the tree. This practice invariably leads to the development of water sprouts weakly attached to a decaying branch. You could limb up your tree to raise the canopy a bit from the ground by removing some of the lower branches, but this should be done over a number of years. After removal of a lower limb or limbs, at least 2/3 of the total height of the tree should still have living branches.
Your tree looks very healthy, so it’s is likely in a good spot in terms of light and soil, with adequate moisture. My suggestion is to enjoy it in its natural state.
Here are a couple of links that might be helpful. The first one has more information about your tree, and the second one is a good guide to pruning trees.
I hope you have many years of enjoyment of your lovely tree.
September 1, 2021