No tree adds more beauty in the spring than the dogwood.
Flowering dogwoods are native to the eastern United States, including all of Georgia.
Flowering dogwoods grow 20-35 feet tall and spread 20-25 feet.
Trees grown in the sun grow slower and are more compact than shade-grown trees. Shade tree branches appear to form horizontal layers of foliage.
The showy white bracts add color to both native woodlands and urban landscapes. Cultivars with pink or red bracts are available.
Dogwoods grow best in well-drained soils with a slightly acidic reaction (pH 5.0-6.5). They are sensitive to high or rapidly changing soil temperatures.
Woodland soil temperatures rise and fall slowly and dogwoods grow best in that environment.
Flowering dogwoods can be grown in sun or shade, but shaded trees will be less dense, grow more quickly and taller, and have poor flowering and fall color.
They prefer part shade (preferably in the afternoon) with a cool mulched root zone. Flowering dogwoods prefer a deep, rich, well-drained soil with some organic matter.
Bare root or balled and burlapped trees should be transplanted during the dormant season.
Container grown trees can be transplanted anytime of the year if they are irrigated regularly after planting. Moving dogwoods from the wild is not recommended because of disease problems.
Trees should be planted in a hole as deep as the rootball, no deeper. The hole should be three times the width of the rootball.
The tree should be watered thoroughly after transplanting to settle soil around the roots.
Dogwoods are not tolerant of extended drought periods.
This is especially true during the first year after planting.
The first weeks after planting apply small amounts of water to the rootball every day. Beginning about one month after planting, cut irrigation to once each week as needed to insure the tree becomes well established.
Full establishment takes about six to 12 months for each inch of trunk diameter. Over-fertilization can injure the young dogwood.
If you wish to fertilize within a year after planting, apply a small amount of slow-release fertilizer to the top of the rootball.
Fertilizer can be applied directly on top of the mulch.
Most established trees growing in landscapes where the lawn, ground covers and shrubs are fertilized do not need additional fertilizer.
Their root systems extend throughout the lawn and landscape and receive nutrients when these areas are fertilized.
Clark Beusse is the Dawson County extension agent. For more information, call (706) 265-2442.