Judas Tree Cercis siliquastrum
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CERCIS SILIQUASTRUM – Judas Tree
The Judas tree can grow to a height of 12m (40ft) and reach 10m (35ft) in diameter, though more often forming a low and irregular 1-sided dome of bushy habit about 8m (25ft) tall.
The leaves are rounded and heart shaped, the bright pink-purple, pea like flowers are produced at the joints of the old wood in May before the leaves emerge. The seed pods can hang on the tree all winter.
Where to grow
Defiantly a sun loving tree, to do well, it needs a warm sheltered sunny spot. It is perfectly hardy but a cold spring delays both flowering and leaf emergence. A member of the Pea family (Leguminosae) it needs a fertile free draining sandy loam and will not tolerate waterlogging.
Did you know?
A native of the Near East and in cultivation in England since 1600 its common name comes from the legend that this was the tree from which Judas Iscariot hanged himself following his betrayal of Jesus or it may just be that it is common in the Judean hills.
- Mature height
- Medium - 10-15 metres
- 5-10 meters
- Round Headed
- Growth rate
- Soil type
- All soil types
- Sun levels
- Full sun
- Difficulty/hard to grow
- Season of interest
- Fine/Light leaf
- Small leaves
- Flower colour
- Flowering month
- Needs shelter
- Dislikes cold sites
- Garden Tree
- Small garden Tree
- City/Urban Sites
- Flower Arranging
Pruning Cercis siliquastrum
Cercis siliquastrum can be trained as multi-stemmed tree or with a clear trunk. Once the desired clear stem is achieved, keep up to 5 lateral branches that will form a strong framework. Cercis siliquastrum responds well to hard pruning, so its size can be easily managed, however it flowers on old wood so bear this mind when pruning out established stems.
What time of year should I prune? After flowering in late spring or summer
For the continued healthy growth of your trees, shrubs or hedging it is vital that you follow the advice below.
The main reason that plants die within 12 months of having been planted is lack of water. It is essential throughout the spring and summer, to give a heavy enough watering to enable the water to penetrate right down to the deepest root level of the tree. In hot dry spells give the equivalent of 2 bucketfuls every three days.
One of the most common causes of lack of water is competition from grass. When trees are first establishing, the grass roots would be at the same level as the tree roots and are far more efficient at taking up water and thus choke the tree. It is vital for 3 years after planting that your tree or hedge has a circle or strip one metre wide completely free of grass. The way to eliminate grass in order of effectiveness is:
- Spray off the grass with a glyphosate based weed killer such as Roundup. Apply each year for the first 3 years. It is best applied when the tree is dormant as it is absorbed through green leaves and kills the plant off at the roots.
- Firmly fit a mulch mat around the base of the tree by tucking the edges into the soil and put a thick layer of bark mulch on top of this. This can be done after the initial spraying with glyphosate and should avoid the need for further spraying.
Mowing or strimming is NOT an answer to the problem. Each time you mow, the grass will grow back more vigorously and strimming invariably leads to lacerated trunks.
If trees are not correctly secured they will rock in the planting pit. Roots not firmly in contact with the soil are unable to take up moisture and nutrients, resulting in die back or death of the tree. Check, particularly after windy weather, that stakes are still solidly in the ground keeping the base of the trunk firm. The purpose of the stakes is to anchor the roots. Flexing in the wind, higher up the trunk, is not necessarily a problem if the roots are firm.
Bellow is list of the correct system to use to secure your trees.
- 40/60, 60/80, 80/100 whips - Unless rabbit/deer problem no need to stake.
- 100/125, 125/150 1.2m Cane and Easi tie.
- 150/175 1.2m square stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
- 175/250, 6/8, 8/10 15L 1.65 Tree stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
- All larger trees. 2 x 1.65 Tree stake and cross rail with 38mm cushion spacer and 1m of 38mm strapping.
Always use our recommended tree ties or strapping. These are designed and manufactured with the correct amount of give to hold the tree firm without strangling it. They should be checked at the end of each growing season for adjustment as the trunk thickens. Non proprietary materials such as baler twine will cut into the bark and should not be used.
Protection from Animal Damage
Rabbits, deer, sheep, cattle and horses can all potentially damage trees. Ask us for advice on the most appropriate guards for your trees or hedge. Squirrels are also a terrible pest when trees get to about 20ft tall but there is no protection available.