When the leaves came out on my redbud tree this spring, half the tree had normal-sized leaves that sprouted at the normal time. The other half had smaller-sized leaves that came out at a slower pace. The 2 halves remained this way throughout the summer, although the half with the normal leaves is now heavy with seed pods. The tree shows no signs of disease. It is treated by a tree service 4 times from spring to fall for various things. The tree is several years old, has western exposure and is watered by the yard sprinkler system. I put a slow drip water hose at the base a few times in September. Some of the roots are at soil level but are covered with mulch. I haven’t had the soil tested to know its condition. How can I keep this tree healthy so that it comes back all normal next year?
The symptoms you have described lead me to believe that the problem lies in your redbud’s (Cercis canadensis) reduced ability to take up needed water and nutrients that sustain good growth. Trees or portions of trees can become deficient in moisture and nutrients for a variety of reasons. These include a lack of soil moisture, compacted soils, injured or diseased roots that reduce water uptake, and injured or diseased trunk and branches that restrict water movement. Your tree service has physical contact with your tree several times a year and should be aware and monitoring its unhealthy symptoms. Check with them to ensure they are taking steps to promote a healthy outcome. Ask them about their spray schedule for your tree and what their treatment objectives are. Being an active participant will enable you to maintain a healthy environment for your plants.