The Q&A Archives: Pink Flowering Dogwood (long)

Question: This past April (April 2000), I had two trees planted on my front lawn (southern exposure). One was a flowering white dogwood and the other a pink flowering dogwood. They were balled and burlapped. The white dogwood seems to be doing fine. It flowered a little in the spring and now in late June, it has an abundance of leaves. It also seems to be developing the berries for the fall. The pink dogwood however has me concerned. It has very small leaves and had small, limited flowers in the spring. The bark seems to be fine and has a grayish-brown appearance. The branches are not brittle or dryed out. At close inspection, the very very tips of the leaves have the slightest hint of brown. I water almost very week, more if the daytime temp is above 85. I use a 2 gallon watering can and fill it 3 times, thats 6 gallons of water. As of the last two waterings, I started to apply Miracid since I read that dogwoods like acidic soil. Should I be concerned about this tree. Is there anything I can do or apply that will give it a "burst" of energy or is this just typical for the first year? My concern is due to its survival in the hot weather that can be expeienced here in Central NJ. Any advice would be appreciated. Many thanks.

Answer: Unfortunately, based on your description it is impossible to determine the cause of the browning. Keep in mind that dogwoods need an evenly moist but not soggy soil so be sure you are not overwatering it. A few inches of mulch over the root zone (but not touching the trunk) can be helpful in keeping the soil cool and moist. It is possible that your trees came from different sources originally and thus the composition of the rootballs are different so that they may respond differently to watering. You will need to dig down a bit and see to know for sure if and when and how much to water. The soil in your area may be naturally acidic enough already, and it may or may not be necssary to fertilize the trees. ( In general it is not a good idea to fertilize a stressed tree.) The only way to know for sure is to test the soil. Your county extension can help you with the tests and interpreting the results. They should also be able to help diagnose the foliage problem. You might want to give them a call at 745-3445.

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