Determining the best spot to plant a tree in your garden isn't always easy. For example, do you have an eastern redbud for which you need to choose a location but don't know its sun requirements? Do eastern redbuds generally prefer full sun? Is some shade better?
Luckily, we've done extensive research into these questions and have the answers below!
Yes, you can certainly plant an eastern redbud in the full sun. Generally, this deciduous tree species flowers better if it gets full sun versus partial or complete shade, so that's something to consider.
Eastern redbud may also stay healthier if it gets more sun exposure, so this has many benefits for your tree.
As we start this post, we will cover all things growing eastern redbuds and discuss how much sun one needs. Whether you're new to this flowering tree, already have one growing, or need additional tips and tricks, we're here to help. With that said, let's dive right into this topic and answer your questions!
How Much Sun Does An Eastern Redbud Tree Need?
You generally want to give eastern redbud four or more hours of direct sunlight each day. Since this flowering tree doesn't require full sun, you don't need to have it grow somewhere with 6-8 hours of direct contact.
However, planting eastern redbud somewhere it can receive 4-6 hours of sunshine each day can benefit your tree. As we said, this species will produce stronger, healthier blooms if it's in the full sun.
The sun can also encourage your tree to grow faster, so there are many benefits to having your tree in an unobstructed, open location. The main factor to worry about with eastern redbud is the soil, so try giving your tree as many nutrients and moisture as possible.
Furthermore, the chances of waterlogging or root rot decrease significantly if your tree is in the full sun, which is another big bonus of a sunnier location.
Is It Better To Plant Eastern Redbuds In The Full Sun?
Yes, if you plant an eastern redbud in the full sun, it's more likely to flower and grow. Like most plant species, the eastern redbud needs the sun to gather energy and become healthy and strong.
One of the main benefits of having eastern redbuds in the full sun is they'll produce better blooms. Since this species is typically ornamental and showy within a landscape: more flowers are always better.
According to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, planting an eastern redbud in the full sun encourages faster and better growth.
That applies to both the flowers and regular foliage/branches of your tree. Of course, an eastern redbud isn't required in the full sun.
Even though your flowering tree will appreciate the additional vitamins and nutrients, it can do well in partially shaded landscapes. If you're in a warmer growing zone, giving an eastern redbud some afternoon shade can be very beneficial.
Is It Okay To Plant An Eastern Redbud In The Shade?
Yes, it will be fine if you plant an eastern redbud somewhere with partial sun exposure. Typically, these small deciduous trees thrive in partial shade to full sun, often liking a bit of everything.
One of the main things to consider with sun exposure is its quality. For example, if your garden is in a heavily shaded area, you want to plant an eastern redbud in a spot with as much daily sunshine as possible.
Some locations have low light even in the afternoon, making growing and planting trees extremely challenging. So, if you have a shady garden, aim for as much sunshine as possible.
The same goes for bright gardens, as you can usually grow an eastern redbud around other large trees and their canopies without issues. Every landscape is different!
Will An Eastern Redbud Tree Grow In Full Shade?
Planting an eastern redbud can be tricky if you don't have much sun exposure in your yard. Although this flowering tree can handle partial shade well, growing one without sun or very little can be nearly impossible.
As we mentioned, eastern redbud needs at least four hours of sun exposure daily. If your plant receives less than those four hours, it's more likely to become sick and die.
Specifically, trees in full shade are more susceptible to root rot and soil moisture troubles. For example, if you give a redbud too much water one day, but it's in the full sun, the water evaporates or seeps into the ground without much problem.
In contrast, if you overwater an eastern redbud in mostly shade, its dry time can be much longer: ultimately putting the roots at risk. So if possible, give your redbud a bit of morning or afternoon sun exposure.
Can An Eastern Redbud Get Too Much Sun?
Yes. Issues can arise if your eastern redbud tree is in the full sun for too long. As an eastern redbud sits in full sunlight, its leaves and flowers can become dehydrated.
Especially if there's a drought or extreme heat, too much sunshine can negatively affect your tree. One of the main things to look out for on a redbud is yellowing foliage.
For example, if it's summertime and your redbud starts yellowing or burning around the leaves: it is getting too much sun and not enough water.
Luckily, an easy remedy would be giving your tree plenty of water. Luckily, eastern redbuds are relatively drought-tolerant and can fend for themselves in unusual conditions.
Again, you don't want to put your tree through too much stress, so don't be afraid to give it some extra water if there's a heat wave or the sun is unusually powerful.
Do Eastern Redbuds Handle Heat Well?
Overall, we would agree that eastern redbuds handle heat and drought very well. One of the main benefits of growing this flowering tree is that it's incredibly hardy and can adapt to various ground and weather conditions.
According to PlantingTree, eastern redbuds can handle extreme weather on both sides of the spectrum. For example, if it is very hot and dry in the summer, your tree won't die: it will learn to adapt.
The same goes for cold weather and ice damage, which redbud seems to be able to handle without issue. On top of extreme heat and cold, your eastern redbud should fare well against high winds.
So as a whole, this tree species is pretty durable and doesn't get shaken up easily.
Where Is The Best Place To Grow An Eastern Redbud?
The best location for an eastern redbud is with partial-full sun exposure, good drainage, high-quality soil, and space to flourish.
According to experts, your redbud needs roughly 4-8 hours of daily sun exposure and a minimum of 6-8 feet distance between structures. We recommend leaving close to three feet if you have a fence or wall nearby.
Even though eastern redbud doesn't become super tall or wide, your tree still needs space. One of the most common mistakes gardeners make with this species is planting it on top of a structure or surrounding tree, often hindering its growth.
However, eastern redbuds are "understory" trees. That means they grow well under the canopies of larger trees in a forest or landscape. So, planting your redbud nearby should not be an issue if you have an existing tree with a vast canopy.
Soil drainage also plays a vital role in a redbud's health, so try and avoid overly compacted ground conditions if possible.
What USDA Growing Zones Can I Plant An Eastern Redbud In?
If you want to plant an eastern redbud in your garden, try and keep this within USDA zones 4-9. Since this is a pretty vast section of the USDA map, you're likely going to be able to plant one in most North American landscapes.
However, you want to avoid super cold or super hot conditions with redbuds. USDA zones 4-9 tend to stick between 30 and 90 degrees, which should be the same for your eastern redbud.
Typically, this flowering tree doesn't respond well to freezing temperatures and can sustain permanent damage if the weather becomes too extreme.
On top of that, extreme heat (triple digits regularly) can also negatively affect redbuds. For example, if you try to grow this tree in the high desert, you'll likely run into growth, health, and flowering issues.
Therefore, keep your eastern redbud somewhere with moderate weather, not becoming super hot or incredibly cold.
How Long Do Eastern Redbuds Live?
You can usually expect an eastern redbud to live anywhere from 50 to over 70 years. In tree terms, this deciduous species are relatively short-lived and often becomes sick in its older years.
According to Lake Forest College, eastern redbuds can become incredibly vulnerable to fungal diseases, like verticillium wilt, which is directly attributed to specific pathogens.
On top of that, these gorgeous flowering trees are also more likely to develop trunk cancer in their old age, making them somewhat challenging to care for past 30-40 years.
Again, you should get to enjoy an eastern redbud for many years before any issues arise, so don't let these possible illnesses deter you from growing one!
To Finish Things Up
Whether you have an eastern redbud in your landscape or wish to plant one, it's crucial to understand its sun preferences and requirements.
We found that eastern redbud enjoys total sun exposure and can produce better, larger blooms with the additional exposure.
Furthermore, eastern redbuds can grow in partial shade as understory trees, so don't feel obligated to plant one explicitly in the full sun. Also, give your redbud plenty of space to mature, and don't be afraid to give it more water during hotter, drier periods!
Made it to the end? Check out these other helpful related garden posts: