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The ball trumpet tree, botanically 'Catalpa bignonioides', is created by grafting a conventional trumpet tree. In contrast to this, the ball trumpet tree has a naturally spherical crown, which can become quite wide with age. The large, heart-shaped leaves overlap and thus offer a very pretty sight - which you often have to wait a long time for in spring, because the budding of the trumpet tree does not take place until very late in the year.

The ball trumpet tree usually only sprout in May

Ball trumpet tree often only sprout in May

Scoffers like to refer to the ball trumpet tree as the "official tree", after all it would come late and leave early. In fact, the smaller variety of the trumpet tree does not sprout until May at the earliest, which - when everything is already green and blooming in the garden - can be quite frustrating at times. On the other hand, Catalpa bignonioides loses its foliage all the earlier and is usually bare again before the first frost.

Water in spring when dry

If spring is very dry, budding can be delayed even further. In order to avoid this, you should water the ball trumpet tree regularly - after all, the wood needs a lot of water. Needs-based fertilization can also stimulate sprouting. Mature compost is particularly suitable.

Budding after a hard winter can take place even later

Although the ball trumpet tree is also considered to be relatively frost-resistant in our latitudes, very cold winters with low temperatures make it very difficult. After such a shoot, spring budding can take longer than usual, and the foliage that appears then can be smaller. If your trumpet tree shows no signs of budding for an unusually long time, it makes sense to check the signs of life: many of these temperature-sensitive trees did not survive the German winter. To do this, scrape off the bark on several parts of the tree - especially on its strong branches and trunk - so that the living wood appears underneath. If the tree freezes, the wood looks dried up.

Cut back ball trumpet tree after heavy frost

After a long, harsh winter, it is often advisable to cut back and thus rebuild the crown. The shoots in the crown are severely cut back, although branches growing directly from the trunk must be completely removed - these are outgrowths from the grafting base.


If the tree has to be cut down - for example as a result of severe frost or storm damage - always do this above the grafting point.

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