Tree Planting Instructions

The Pittsburgh Redbud Project

Thank you for participating in the Pittsburgh Redbud Project! The redbud seeds that you received must germinate before planting. Please follow these simple steps before planting your seeds:

  • Use a piece of sandpaper or other hard, textured surface to "scarify" each redbud seed. This breaks down the tough coating that protects the seed.
  • Place your redbud seeds in a Ziploc bag of soil-less media, such as vermiculite, perlite or peatmoss, with a small amount of water so that the exposed seeds do not dry out.
  • Refrigerate your seeds for 90 days to imitate winter temperatures.
  • In the spring, plant your redbud seeds by either directly sowing them outdoors, or start the seedlings indoors by placing the seeds in a flower pot or seedling tray (recommended), instructions provided below.
  • The Pittsburgh Redbud ProjectUse a small clay pot, no less than 7 inches.
  • Fill 80 percent of the pot with a soil mixture that contains one-half peat moss and one-half sand.
  • Add water to moisten the soil in the pot.
  • Make several large ½-inch deep holes in the soil.
  • Place two seeds into each hole and cover each with the soil mixture.
  • Water your seeds, using a spray bottle for best results.
  • Place the pot near a sunny widow and continue watering once a week.


Planting your tree in the ground

Once your tree begins to grow, you can place the pot outdoors and then plant in the ground.

  • Move your potted plant outside during warm weather and bring it indoors during winter months (November-March) to avoid root freezing.
  • Keep your baby redbud tree in the starter pot for 1-2 years, until it reaches about 12-18 inches in height. At this height, it should be transplanted from the pot to an area outside. Please see the planting instructions below.
  • Full sun to partial shade works best for redbuds of all varieties.
  • Well-drained areas are preferable for redbuds. (Redbuds trees do not do well in excessively moist areas nor poorly drained soils.)
  • Water and care for your new baby redbud tree, and be sure to protect it from deer and other animals by placing some type of fencing around it until it reaches five to six feet tall.
  • Share photos of your redbud seedling and stories by tagging #PGHredbuds.


Redbud Seedling Planting Instructions

Tell family and friends that you received a free, beautiful redbud tree to plant by using #PGHredbuds. Once you get home, you’ll want to plant your redbud tree immediately. Here’s how:

For More Information:

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
The Pittsburgh Redbud Project
800 Waterfront Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Alicia Wehrle
Community Forestry Project Coordinator