The Q&A Archives: My new Korean Dogwood is not thriving - please help!

Question: I purchased a Korean Dogwood from a reputable online nursery last year. The nursery indicated the dogwood should have full sun. I planted the tree properly (to the best of my knowledge), but it has yet to thrive. Earlier this summer it had several small green leaves, but these turned brown and I removed them. The tree is about 2-1/2 feet tall, not much taller than when I planted it late last summer. No more leaves have grown on the tree. It is still

Answer: Georgia,

Your Korean dogwood is showing extreme stress. This plant is rated to your cold and heat zones but you are at the bottom of its range. Therefore while it can take full sun a little shade may be a bit less stressful. The symptoms you provided sound like there are problems in the roots. I can't tell if it is too little water, too much or if perhaps some fertilizer was put in the planting hole and has burned the roots. Whatever the cause your best option now is to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Your plant may be set back so much it is not able to recover but that call is difficult to make. If the planting hole is in a clay soil it may be that it is acting like an underground flower pot and restricting root growth and establishment. If it doesn't improve by fall I think that I would dig it up, examine the roots, cut or unwind any circling roots and reset the plant after working the soil in the planting hole to make sure and loosen the sides of the hole. Make sure it has good drainage (raised planting area) and reset the plant promptly. Firm the soil in around the roots and add water as you refill the hole to remove air pockets. I would not worry about fertilizing it at this time. Good luck with your plant.

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