En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - April 20, 2011

From: Springfield, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Trees
Title: Planting a redbud in VA
Answered by: Anne Bossart


What is the best time of year to plant Redbud (Cercis canadensis)in Burke, VA, 22152 - fall or spring or does it matter? And is there a certain size tree that is best to purchase for greatest chance of survival?


There was an old saying in Pennsylvania that you could plant trees in any month that has the letter "r" in it, so that would only exclude May, June, July and August (i.e. summer).

However, that was before the days when a homeowner could drive to a local plant center, buy a pot grown tree and go home and plant it.  These days you can plant a tree as long as you can find one in the nursery and the soil is not frozen.

Generally, the best time to plant is in the early fall.  The air and soil are warm enough that the plant can get established (generate some root growth) and then fall into winter dormancy.  Then it is ready for the stresses of the heat and drought of summer in the following season.  However, if you are planting your Cercis canadensis (Eastern redbud) in an environment that mimics its native environment and not in the center of a lawn in a new development (full sun and compacted, nutrient poor soil) it will be fine if you plant it now.

Keep it mulched and watered until it is established and follow the tips in our Step by Step Guide.  It will bring you joy in late winter for many years to come.

Cercis canadensis

Cercis canadensis

Cercis canadensis

Cercis canadensis



More Trees Questions

Nut tree for Florida
October 09, 2008 - Hi! I would like to plant a nut tree in Orlando, FL. What would you recommend?
view the full question and answer

Re-landscaping neglected garden in Franklin CT
April 03, 2011 - I am starting from scratch in a yard that has no planting beds or, for that matter, plants at all. House was vacant for quite some time, grass was three feet tall when we moved in. I would like to p...
view the full question and answer

Will damage to live oak root make it more susceptible to oak wilt
December 24, 2012 - Hi. I knicked the root of a live oak when digging. Will this hurt the tree and make it more succeptible to wilt? Is there something I can use to protect the exposed part of the root and make it les...
view the full question and answer

Possibility of oak wilt or iron deficiency
September 04, 2007 - This spring my two oak trees, 4" and 7" in diameter, in my yard in Kyle started showing very light green leaves with green veins. I've been told this is chlorosis, so I treated them with a couple o...
view the full question and answer

Moving a red oak away from the house foundation
January 24, 2008 - About a 3 weeks ago I noticed a 5 ft. red oak growing in my flower bed. I hadn't noticed it growing up through my shrubs until the leaves turned bright red. The problem is that its coming up about tw...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center