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redbud tree droop

My mom-in-law has a redbud about 10 yrs old that half died. we cut down the dead part. Now it has sent up new growth but it is weepy, sort of. None of the 20 or so "suckers" stand up straight. What can we do? Pick one to be "the tree" and cut down the rest? hard to mow around and under this tree. don't want to remove it, just like it to stand up like the neighbors redbud. all pics I've seen show one trunk w/ really nice branching-what gives? it didn't start out looking like this.
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest


Thanks for writing. Don't worry about the suckers --- young redbud growth often has a ""weepy"" habit. If you'd like to maintain the tree, keep one (or three, if you want a multi-stemmed redbud) of the suckers and prune the rest out. As they grow, they'll get stronger and develop a more upright habit.

If you don't want to wait a year or so for the growth to firm up, your best bet is to rip the tree out and replace it with a new one, I'm afraid.

Also: Be sure you get a redbud that's reliably hardy in your area. I see you're in USDA Zone 5 --- and that means redbuds from Southern sources may not be reliably hardy in your area. I had one, for example, that I purchased from a big-box retailer three years ago and the entire plant died back to the ground every winter before I removed it and replaced it.

---Justin, Senior Garden Editor,

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