Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Plant an American Redbud Tree

By Dale Devries ; Updated September 21, 2017
American Redbud is one of the first trees to flower in spring.
Blossoming twig of magnolia-tree (on blossom tree background) image by wildman from Fotolia.com

The American redbud tree is native to North America and is commonly called the Eastern redbud. Redbuds are fast growing trees, with the American redbud growing between 20 and 30 feet tall with a 15- to 25-foot spread. Blooming early in the spring, the tree has pinkish purple flowers that grow from the branches before the leaves emerge. The leaves turn yellow in fall giving both a spring and fall interest. American redbud is hardy from U.S. Department of Agriculture planting zones 4b to 9a.

Choose a location that has full morning sun and afternoon shade especially in the south. The area may be damp, but not continually soggy. This tree works well as an understory tree as long as it gets enough sunlight in the morning. Plan to plant the tree in the spring or fall.

Dig a hole that is three times the diameter of the container you purchased the tree in. Remove all weeds, lawn grass and other debris from the soil. Amend the soil by adding one part compost to three parts original soil.

Remove the tree from the container and gently spread out the roots while knocking off most of the soil from the container. Place the tree in the planting hole.

Fill the hole half way up the root ball with the amended soil and flood the hole with gentle stream of water, compacting the soil around the root. Continue to fill the hole until the soil is level with the surrounding ground. Water again, completely soaking the ground around the tree.

Keep the soil moist for the first two weeks while the roots are getting established. Cut back the watering to once a week throughout the first growing season when there is no rain.

Place a 3-foot diameter, 3-inch layer of mulch to hold moisture and keep the weeds from growing. Keep the mulch 6 inches from the trunk of the tree.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Flowering tree fertilizer
  • Mulch