Minnesota Strain Redbud


Have you noticed over the last week or so the brilliant purple/magenta flowering trees with a wavy and layered branch structure that cause the stunning masses of blossoms to seem as if they are floating on air?  If so, you are probably enjoying the visual feast provided by the Minnesota Strain Redbud.

This northern hardy strain of Redbud is a seeding selection made by the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and has been quite successful in the southern half of Minnesota over the last several decades when planted in properly drained soils that still have good moisture availability.  It’s probably best to avoid planting Minnesota Strain Redbuds in soggy wet ground as well as very sandy/gravely soils.

One of the reasons the blossoms of Minnesota Strain Redbud seem to float on air is that they open before any leaves appear on the twigs and branches and are often so numerous that the blossoms obscure the branches.  I love intense color, and few flowering plants can match the electric neon purple of the Minnesota Strain Redbuds for color intensity.

Minnesota Strain Redbuds are available as single stem trees and as multi-stem clumps, each form having its own special characteristics and both forms mature to about 20′-25′ tall and wide.  Some people think that Redbuds should be planted in protected areas, but I have seen them doing well even in open areas including our tree fields which are exposed to all the extremes of our climate.

Try to position your Redbud where it will get a half day of direct sun or more.  While Minnesota Strain Redbuds will tolerate a place where they only get a few hours of sun each day, I have noticed that they have better branch structure and more blossoms when they receive 6 or more hours of direct sun during the 14-15 hour long days from late April to late August.

One of the biggest reasons I absolutely love Minnesota Strain Redbud is their long bloom time of about three to four weeks.  Most other species of flowering trees bloom for 7 to 10 days.  Redbuds commonly put on a show of passion purple for 18-30 days!

The sad and untimely death of Prince last week ironically came just as the Minnesota Strain Redbuds began to show their finest purple.  Wouldn’t a memorial planting of Minnesota Strain Redbuds be a nice way to honor one of Minnesota’s home grown creative music legends?   Each spring the dazzling purple blossoms would be a reminder of a Minnesota iconic genius who dearly loved his home state!

9 thoughts on “Minnesota Strain Redbud”

  1. As the flowers fade the large, green, heart shaped leaves emerge. So it becomes a lovely ornamental tree with arching habit. But this is a great question. I will try to follow up with a picture for you in the near future.

  2. We live in Cheyenne, Wyoming (Zone 4-5, depending on who you believe) and purchased one last year in Colorado. I was afraid it didn’t survive this past winter due to SE Wyoming’s lack of snowstorms & moisture. The trunk, branches, and stems are incredibly dry and snap off easily. I hated to have to pull it out and had been procrastinating. On June 23rd, I noticed numerous large heart shaped leaves poking up through the tree-t-pee around the base of the tree. I’m hopeful it will make it through the summer and survive in to next year and beyond. Looking forward to seeing the blooms. When is the best time to remove the dry branches from the tree?

  3. Hello Bill,
    Now would be a fine time to remove the winter die back from your redbud. Wait for a nice dry, low humidity day, and make sure you use a clean, sharp pruner or hand saw. If you think of it next spring, let us know how it’s doing!

    Thank you,

    Heidi Brosseau
    Knecht’s Nurseries & Landscaping

  4. We have a Minnesota Redbud that we planted about 22 years ago. It is a spectacular specimen that many of our neighbors come to look at when it blooms. We now have quite a few houses around us that have planted them too.
    I have lovingly tended to its shape over the years since it is right next to our cedar deck. It provides just the right amount of shade in summer and is beautiful when lit up during the winter because of its unusual branch formation(we have low voltage up lights)
    On size, ours is about 12 feet tall and just as wide. In southeast WI, I have never seen one get 20 to 30 feet tall. Many people think that the WI strain and the Minnesota strain are the same. But they are not. I was told by our Landscape architect that the MN is single trunk and WI is multiple trunks.
    The one concern we have is that this year it has a lot of dead branches and didn’t bloom well either but only on one side. I have seen more ants crawling on it this year and I think one actually went into a small crack in the trunk. Also, it is suddenly having “shoots” coming out from the base of the tree. I was always told that when a tree does that it means it is dying and trying to replace itself with new growth. Anyone have any thoughts on this weird phenomenon?

  5. I live in Sioux Falls SD. Would the Minnesota Redbud tolerate a southern exposure with direct sunlight most of the day? Thankyou.

  6. Hello Sherry,

    Sioux Falls is in planting zone 4 which is what we are here in Northfield. I would expect a MN Strain Redbud to do fine! Check out our website for proper planting procedures, as proper planting is what will help you with the longevity of your trees.

  7. Hello Terry,

    Sorry to hear your Redbud is sick. You are probably correct, it’s probably dying. I suspect from verticillium wilt. Not much to do except plan for what to plant there when its totally dead. Minnesota Redbud are sold as both single stem and multi stem. The same can be done with the Wisconsin strain. It depends on what the grower decides to do.

    Leif Knecht

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