We have a small redbud that we planted two years ago. It was barely a seedling when we planted it; this spring it was about 4-5 feet tall. No real buds this year, but leafing out nicely.

Then a few days ago the landscaping/lawnmowing company that our housing development uses came by and pruned it, although they are not supposed to. They cut it back pretty severely, maybe taking off a foot or two from every branch, including the main branches.

Did they likely kill it? Is there anything we can/should do to help save it?

Edit: Added photo. I should also note that I did call the landscaper to complain; we'll see what happens.

enter image description here

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    The jaw-droppingly incompetent "landscaping" company performed arboritorture on your tree. I don't think they killed it outright, but they pruned it at the wrong time of year and weakened it severely. It would not surprise me if it died this year or next. I'd contact the owner of the company and/or whoever contracted these idiots and demand a replacement tree.
    – Jurp
    Commented May 23, 2019 at 2:59
  • @Jurp You can write this as an answer and I'll accept it. :) Commented May 23, 2019 at 12:31
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    @LarrySnyder610 If you could provide a picture I am sure someone around here would be glad to help.
    – Rob
    Commented May 23, 2019 at 14:13

1 Answer 1


Good news, bad news. Good news is they have not killed it and in five years you won't even see the issue. The best time to prune this tree is right now in early spring as it has finished blooming.

Bad news is that if you ever hoped to have a single stem tree this did not make it easier. From the photograph you supplied this seems to have been sold as a multi stem bush and I would leave it to grow that way. Particularly if you are in the North East United States or Southern Ontario where these trees do not get large.

If you really want a single or two or three stem tree then the same link advises:

Redbuds frequently have low branches when they are young. Take off one or two of the lowest branches each year as it grows until you are satisfied with the shape and branching structure. Pruning the branches when they are still small is more desirable than taking off larger diameter ones.

You do not need to do anything except get the landscapers to keep their clippers to themselves!

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    Good thing I posted a comment, not an answer - the damage isn't as bad as I initially thought. Nice write-up @kevinsky. The OP is going to have work getting the tree back into a nice shape...
    – Jurp
    Commented May 24, 2019 at 2:40

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