Redbud – Rotten Roots
Q: This eight year-old red bud tree developed a few dead branches over the last month but bloomed beautifully in March. I came home yesterday and found this! Let me know what you think.
A: I think something went wrong with the roots over the last eight years. They were too wet, too dry, planted in a small hole, or some other phenomenon that caused them to rot away. It might have been a situation where the tree was happy for a couple of years and then a gutter downspout started flooding the area, causing root rot.
In any case, this one is toast!
Put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and try to determine what is wrong with the root area. Fix it, if possible, then plant another one. Be sure to thoroughly spade an area 8 ft in diameter around the center planting spot. This will give the tree roots plenty of room to spread. Avoid the root systems of the existing shrubs but loosen the soil between them, so the new tree’s roots can go where they want.