Spotlight on the native redbud

Our native redbud is getting more popular, thanks to the tree-planting programs so active in the city and region. Salutes to them, really. They are making such a difference. I'm seeing redbuds and other great street trees all over my neighborhood and others in my travels. Not so many Bradford pears anymore, though they were the rage in the '80s.

Bradford pears, which are nonnative, turned out to be problematic on several fronts, including the fact that at a certain point, they start falling apart. They have "weak wood." And they're susceptible to disease, although they're not the only street tree this is true of. They are pretty in spring, no question, and remain an extremely popular tree for roadsides, homes and municipalities.


But the Eastern redbud is gaining ground as an alternative choice, something that was brought home to me by Steve Wright, the aforementioned curator of plant collections at Jenkins Arboretum. He's in my story tomorrow saying that he loves all the redbud choices out there now, including the one pictured here - a so-called (because it still looks pink to me) red redbud! It's outstanding against a solid-green background.

I like the fact that the blossoms line the branches before the leaves even open. Redbuds aren't particularly longlived, which is one of the complaints about the Bradford pear, and they're not disease-free, either. Maybe it's that look that triumphs over all.

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