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Flowering Dogwood Care a step-by-step guide
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Planting
A beautiful red flowering dogwood tree.

Because of the prevalence of natural diseases, a dogwood should never be transplanted from the wild.
G. Lumis

Choosing a Flowering Dogwood

The first and most important rule is never to transplant from the wild.  Wild flowering dogwoods may be diseased, infested with pests such as borers or host to the fungus Discula destructiva, cause of the often fatal dogwood anthracnose.  Always use certified disease-free nursery stock bought from a reputable nursery or garden centre.  Most nursery stock comes balled and burlapped (B and B).  Check the ball to ensure that it is moist and that sufficient soil surrounds the roots.  Inspect the tree to ensure that it isn't damaged or suffering from lesions.

Selecting a Planting Site

In their natural habitat, flowering dogwoods flourish in moist, shady areas with nutrient-rich soil. In home landscaping uses, dogwoods will tolerate a range of soil conditions with a preference for slightly acid loam. What dogwoods will not tolerate are arid conditions so it's important to ensure that the soil is moist and that trees are not planted too close to the heat reflective walls of buildings. It will be necessary to water dogwoods during dry spells.

Planting Flowering Dogwoods

As with most trees, spring is the best time to plant flowering dogwoods before tree growth starts when the air is cooler and the ground moist.  The method for planting dogwoods is, as well, the same as for most other trees.  The planting hole should be at least three times the diameter of the root ball and just deep enough so that the ball protrudes slightly from the surface to allow for settling.  To work compacted soil, try digging a deeper hole and then backfilling to the necessary depth.  Never plant the tree deeper than the exposed stem when balled & burlapped.  Once the tree is seated in the hole, back fill using the original soil or a half and half mixture of soil and organic material.

Once the tree has been planted, cover the soil surrounding the tree with a layer of organic mulch.  Fertilizing is generally not necessary unless the soil is very nutrient deprived.

One short note on tree wraps.  Experts are divided on the advisability of wrapping the trunks of newly transplanted trees with some suggesting that the wraps themselves can invite and harbor insects.  If you're thinking about wrapping your trees, consult a tree care specialist beforehand for advice on the advantages and disadvantages in your region.

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