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?

Share

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

QUESTION:

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?

ANSWER:

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

Identification of a tree at David Crockett Cabin Museum in Tennessee
October 22, 2012 - I was in Lawrenceburg TN and stopped by the David Crockett Cabin Museum. There was a tree and it dropped lemon sized balls on the ground. What kind of tree is it?
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing tree, non-toxic for horses, in Northern California
March 18, 2010 - Hello..I need to find a fast growing shade tree, native to California (I live in Northern California, south of San Francisco) that would be safe next to (but not in) my horses paddock. Obviously some...
view the full question and answer

Planting annuals around young oak in Evanston IL
July 30, 2011 - is it OK to plant annuals (i.e. salvias, impatiens or dusty millers) around the base of a young oak tree (2-3 years old)?
view the full question and answer

Growing Chilopsis in Florida
July 25, 2013 - I live in St. Johns County, FL between Jacksonville and St Augustine. I live inland, not near the beach. I bought a small desert willow plant in Victoria, TX and brought it back to FL to grow. I plan ...
view the full question and answer

Low Water Use Plants for a Pond Island
November 06, 2014 - We have a medium sized pond/tank with a small island covered in black willows. The pond loses a lot of water and we were told it was partially due to the willows. We want to remove them and replace ...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center