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Help my Dogwood

Posted by sanfelice MA (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 27, 12 at 16:23

I planted a Dogwood tree bought from a local nursery about three years ago (in the fall, IIRC, so a bit more than 3 years). To date, the dogwood has only produced a few flowers of varying quality. While other trees in my yard do fairly well, this one does not. A Japanese Maple in the yard is about 15 feet from this tree and does OK, but not great. The yard is tiny as I live in the city and the soil is good but may not have ideal drainage, situated between sidewalk and brick foundation, however it does have adequate depth. I used no amendments to the soil when I planted it except for some garden compost. It's just a rather sad tree and I would love to save it, even if it means transplantation. Thanks.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Help my Dogwood


A few questions:

1. Is it growing and not flowering or is the growth minimal?
2. What is the sun/shade situation?
3. Did you water it for at least the first year after planting? Did you water it during drought or the heat of summer?
4. What was the root situation when you planted it? Was it balled and burlapped, or was it sold in a pot? If a pot did you free up the roots from their shape before planting it?
5. How big is it?

I assume we are talking about Cornus florida. They tend to be slow to re-establish from transplanting. They flower better in lots of sun, but they'll tolerate part shade also. My guess is that it is a root situation.


RE: Help my Dogwood

In my experience most trees take a bit of time to get going, and three years would be the earliest I would expect it to start blooming. For perennials I think the saying is year 1 sleep, year 2 creep, year 3 leap. For woody plants I've found that they spend the first couple of years mostly reestablishing roots and then a couple of years starting to put on growth above ground and you won't see much in the way of flowers for 5 or 6 years. I have a couple of Kousa dogwoods that have followed that schedule, so if your dogwoods are leafing out well and look healthy, I'd not be concerned at all about no flowers yet. I think that because plants sell best when flowering, garden centers & nurseries tend to follow practices that ensure blooming in the pot, but we can't expect that for a few years after transplanting as the plant has to adjust to new soil, root disturbance or in the case of ball & burlap plants lots of root removal. Gardening gives us lessons in patience, though in my case I'm a rather slow learner. ;>)

RE: Help my Dogwood

I agree with what Steve and NHBabs said, but have one thing to add. If you're concerned, the first thing to do is a soil test. It's possible that the soil's ph is making the tree unhappy. That would not be an difficult problem to solve, and is easily checked.

Don't add fertilizer in the hope that it will make a difference, unless the soil test indicates that something is missing.

RE: Help my Dogwood

Again I agree with the comments above and would ad the the form/structure of a tree/shrub will mature and develop differently than what they may look like in their first three years in your landscape. kt

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