What to do for my struggling new dogwood?

orangecat(Mid-Atlantic)June 23, 2005

We had a dogwood tree professionally planted back in May (or perhaps planted by supposed professionals is more accurate). Anyway, it has been looking VERY droopy for a couple weeks now (all the leaves look wilted and a few have turned yellow and are dropping off--not many, but a few). We have been watering religiously (since until recently it's been very hot in our area) and the soil is definitely wet, so I'm not sure what's wrong. Any suggestions/advice would be most helpful--Thanks!

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may wasn't a very good time to be planting a dogwood, considering what happened in June (can we say heat wave) but then, this year has been kinda weird, weather-wise.

if you have one of those deep waterers for trees (a hollow spike, basically) you can try giving it a weak dose of fetilizer (if you don't make your own compost tea, a tree's worth is a bit much to brew from those cute little teabags they sell)

did you watch then plant it? did they give the root ball enough room to grow into? it's too soon for it to be root-bound in the hole- but I'm seeing more and more shrubs and such coming from the nurseries all tangled up in their burlap bags.

it could be getting too much sun, they're understory trees, and like maybe hapf a day of sun.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 8:09AM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

Don't ever fertilize a stressed plant.....rather like giving a very sick person a steak dinner and saying now get out and run you will feel better!
How much do you water it every day? How big is the tree....3 feet tall or 12 feet?
Most likely you are underwatering......
From the time it was planted you should be putting the hose with a small sprinkler on it and running it slowly for a couple of hours once a week....or more often if it's been hot and dry.
You need to keep not only the root ball wet but the wurrounding soil so the roots will work their way into it.
And remember a big tree needs more water than a smaller one.
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 10:55AM
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The tree is about 6 ft tall. In terms of watering, I attached a small sprinkler to the end of the hose. I turn the hose on very low and just let it sprinkle in for an hour or two every other day. Could that possibly be too much? The ground is definitely moist both near the tree, and a 2-3 feet out. I increased the watering to this level when it was looking stressed with less frequent watering (2-3 times per week). Of course, it hasn't ever looked "perky" since it was planted.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 11:12AM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

I don't know your soil....nor if the tree is at the top of a hill or the bottom etc.
In my yard, that would not be too much....but if you have hard clay and water is not draining well....it could be too much.
Take a trowel and dig a hole about 14 inches away from the trunk.....just at the edge of the hole they dig when they planted it. Dig just s little hole and see what the wetness is.....then do the same about 2 1/2 feet away from the trunk and see.
That ought to tell you if you have a mucky mess, or dry powder.....or if the tree is just poky or in bad condition when you got it.
That's why most reliable places offer a one year guarantee. I might call the place where you bought it.....if it needs replacing, better this fall than next May!
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 2:36PM
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blueheron(z6 PA)

It's possible that if the soil was amended before planting and you have clay soil - the water would drain through the amended soil quickly and then when it hit the slower-draining clay soil, it woild back up creating a bowl of water and drowning the tree.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 8:30PM
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Padinka(z7 Central AL)

I would let the soil dry out some between watering. Too much water has the same look as not enough. Stick your finger in the soil around the tree and see if the top 2 inches of soil are dry, if so, then water. I recall only watering my new trees once a week or so and only if we didn't get at least an inch of rain that week.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 8:39PM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

Padinka, the thing is,,,,,after Orangecat had the tree planted the weather turned a very unseasonable hot!....There are guide lines about when to plant....but no one can predict the strange weather that some have had.
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 10:25PM
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Padinka(z7 Central AL)

Linda C. I admire your very excellent advice on this forum. But I was concerned about her statement that the soil is 'Wet'.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 2:19AM
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My 60 year old white dog wood has a very very large hole in it's trunk close to the ground. Can this tree be saved. I believe some elves live in it!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2010 at 10:55PM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

Patricia - if you scamper over to the Woodland Forum and also post there - a new post would be ideal - there are some seriously helpful folk there who can probably advise.

Good luck. Old trees are very special.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 2:03AM
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