Gardening column: Where by are the dogwoods? | Columnists

The temperature is warming up, and with it arrives the flowers of spring. There are various species of trees and shrubs that put on a display in the early elements of spring that make the year so amazing. Many of these species are native and are an integral part of the South. Several of the early bloomers have already appear and absent. The point out flower, the Carolina Jessamine, which usually marks the conclude of wintertime, is nonetheless in bloom. But there looks something missing from the landscape. A tree that at just one time was one of the most well known flowering trees during the South: the dogwood.

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The flowering dogwood, Cornus florida, is a little native tree for the Southeast. It grows everywhere from 20 feet to 40 toes tall with a stunning branching that spreads out in tiers, developing a one of a kind glimpse. However the dogwood is not a quickly grower, it does place on additional height more rapidly in the shade. The flowering dogwood grows ideal as an understory tree thriving in dappled sunlight and can be seen in the course of the forests of South Carolina. It commonly commences to bloom in the late wintertime, early spring in advance of the onset of new leaves. Curiously, the flowers are basically found at the centre of what is recognised as bracts, or modified leaves meant to seem like flower petals.

The flowering dogwood grows finest with partial shade and cooler soils. Even though they are adaptable to a range of soil kinds, supply them with fertile, very well-drained soils that stay relatively moist. They also desire soils with a substantial natural and organic matter material which could be hard in this article in this region with out good planning. As with quite a few vegetation in the location, they like to have a little bit acidic soils, a pH of 5.5 to 6.. The final factor to note is that dogwoods need to have a decent layer of mulch surrounding the tree, ideally about 8 ft from the trunk. The greatest time to plant a dogwood, like other trees, is going to be in the fall.

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Now the main concern is why there are not far more of these gorgeous trees throughout the Lowcountry. The flowering dogwood is frequently synonymous with the South, and nevertheless they are astonishingly absent from quite a few of the local landscapes. The major problem regretably is the selection of difficulties that crop up with the dogwood. The 1st factor to notice is that dogwoods do not tolerate dry soils, or for that matter overly soaked soils. If there is a problem with flooding in your place, then the dogwood will very likely not get the job done. And of course, all through periods of drought, it is necessary to deliver supplemental irrigation to avoid tension developing even worse challenges.

gardening column dogwood spot anthracnose

Fungi like place anthracnose can afflict dogwood leaves and guide to early decline of the trees. Christopher Burtt/Supplied

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Illnesses are a prevalent dilemma during the place with inconsistent nevertheless significant rainfall and significant humidity. This signifies the disease-prone dogwood’s disorder prevalence is even a lot more of a issue. The two extra typical illnesses that I have famous amongst dogwoods is that of powdery mildew, which as the name indicates is a white powder-like development on the area of the leaf, and anthracnose.

Powdery mildew takes place typically on the new growth and tends to be more prevalent in the late summertime. The sickness does result in leaf scorch and discoloration on the foliage and is distribute as a result of wind, which will make handle difficult if there are extra dogwoods present in the place. That remaining said, there are some chemical controls for powdery mildew, building it a manageable concern.

Anthracnose, on the other hand, is extra induce for issue. There are two varieties of anthracnose: location anthracnose and dogwood anthracnose. Place anthracnose is the most frequent foliar disorder on dogwoods, and it has an effect on the flower bracts first. Whilst it tends to only bring about small harm, repeated intense bacterial infections can bring about the tree to weaken around time. Dogwood anthracnose is a somewhat new illness but does increase another problem to the record.

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All of this does make some bring about for problem. While ordinarily a flowering dogwood really should live up to 80 years, the sickness and insect pressures have brought on them to drop a lot more promptly, main the less dogwoods and thus fewer opportunity to appreciate this great species. The great news is that there are initiatives to increase this tree by breeding and amplified condition resistance. Through the use of both equally the Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) and the Cornelian cherry dogwood (Cornus mas) in possibly replacing the flowering dogwood or in hybridizing them, this impressive flowering tree can hopefully as soon as all over again develop into a staple for the Southern yard.

For more information about the dogwood, stop by the Residence and Backyard garden Info page or get in touch with your local extension business.

Christopher Burtt is the Urban Horticulture Extension Agent and Master Gardener Coordinator for Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties. He can be reached by electronic mail at

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