The Q&A Archives: Soil pH and Dogwood

Question: I have a wide area that has been covered with hardwood bark for many years. I have unsuccessfully tried to grow dogwwod trees in this area for almost three years. I am wondering if the pH of the soil is affected by the bark, and that is what is killing my dogwood plants. How can I grow dogwood in this area? The area gets plenty of sunshine.

Answer: Some cultivars of Cornus will grow in your zone, and some will perform poorly, regardless of soil pH. The Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum), Cornus mas (Corneliancherry Dogwood), Cornus chinensis, and Cornus sericea (Redosier Dogwood) are the best choices for your region. Dogwood will grow in slightly acid to slightly alkaline soils (6.0 -7.5 pH) and prefer moist soils. After planting make a basin around the trunk of the tree to hold water. Then water thoroughly by flooding the basin once a week until the plant becomes established in its new home. Try again; dogwoods are spectacular landscape additions!

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