I bought a new townhouse in May 2005. A freshly planted dogwood
flowered and died that summer. The builder replaced it with a new
dogwood tree the following late spring.
It died within 2 months.
Mid-November of 2006, they planted ANOTHER dogwood. As of this
writing, it has not even begun to sprout leaves, much less flower
buds. I scraped a tiny piece of branch, and it is moist and green, so
I assume it is alive. I have no idea why it has yet to begin to do
All of the other plants in the immediate area are doing just fine.
Can anyone think of what the tree thinks it is still winter?
Thanks in advance,
Here are a few things that will increase the survival rate about 10
fold of any newly planted tree.
After digging the hole and properly planting the tree:
1) Remove all grass/vegetation within a 3-4 foot circle of the
2) Then put down about a 3-inch layer of mulch in the circle, but
being sure to leave about 4" gap around the trunk to keep the trunk
3) Buy/use a small soaker hose to supplement when there are shortages
I'm near Washington DC (not sure what zone that is) and I basically
left the tree alone. The nursery said it should be getting plenty of
water due to the rains we have been getting.
The thing is, all the other trees are starting to flower. Mine
haven't even started to show leaves yet!
Since this is an ongoing occurrence with your dogwoods you could have a
fungus in the soil. You may just have to find another tree not affected by
this for that spot and plant your dogwood some place else. Your builder
might be getting those trees from an infected source and has now brought
this fungus into your garden, just a possibility. If a lot of older trees
that harbored the fungus were cleared from the area where your townhouse was
built the fungus could be anywhere in the soil and you could possibly not be
able to grow any dogwood in your garden. Talk to a good nursery person, not
a building contractor, about what you can and can't use to replace your
Dogwoods are susceptible to several root and crown rot fungi. These fungi
may be present in the soil and attack the roots when the vigor of the tree
is reduced by unfavorable soil conditions. Often the first symptom observed
is the drying of the leaf margins followed by death of the plant during the
summer months. This is the final stage of a disease that began with an
infection of one or more of the lateral roots. After infecting a part of the
root system, the fungus spreads along the roots to the basal portion of the
tree, which is often girdled. As the fungus progresses, the tree may show
symptoms of decline, such as yellowing of the foliage, dying of the leaf
margins, branch dieback, and a general unthriftiness. One of the most common
root rots on dogwood is caused by Armillaria sp. This disease is
characterized by a relatively thick, white, fan-shaped mass of fungal tissue
(mycelium) beneath the bark at the base of the tree or on large roots, and
by black, shoestring-like structures (rhizomorphs) that can be found on or
under the bark and in the adjacent soil. Another root rot, caused by
Phytophthora cinnamomi, usually affects the smaller roots and occurs most
commonly in poorly drained soils. This disease can be diagnosed only by
To prevent root rot, plant only in well-drained soils where root rot has not
been known to occur, preferably away from areas where large trees have been
removed. Fertilize and water during dry periods and control foliage diseases
to maintain the vigor of the tree. By the time a general decline of the tree
is observed, it is too late to save it. Remove the tree and all roots
possible from the soil, since the fungi can persist in dead roots and infect
nearby shrubs or other plants set in the same site.
In case you hadn't noticed the average builder plops a dogwood tree
smack in the middle of a lawn in full sun, it doesn't die until the
check clears , but it is an understory tree not suited for full sun.
After red mulch volcanoes making every lawn look like a wal-mart
parking lot, it is my pet peeve.
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