The Q&A Archives: How to grow a White Dogwood and best time of year to plant?

Question: I live in Northern Delaware which is flat, clay & poor drainage below a foot of dirt.I have put in a Truck load of mushroon dirt & a lot of bags Miracle Gro dirt in 3yrs of the 50x100. I have killed 11 of every type of white & pink Dogwoods.One pink & every other type of tree are doing great.Please help me? I am planting this area in honor of my late husband the love of my life. Thanks, Melody

Answer: 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.

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, 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.

I think once you amend the soil to provide a well draining site, any dogwood you plant should thrive. Best wishes with your new tree!

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