Ask a Question forum: Dogwood tree

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West Point, CA
klevers
May 25, 2018 8:10 AM CST
I planted a dog wood tree about 10 years ago. I looked up where and how to plant it and did everything it said to do. It looks healthy. It has leaves every year. It use to flower but now it hasn't for the past 2 years and in the 10 years it's been in my yard i don't think it has grown more than a few inches. It gets half day morning sun, planted on the north side of my yard. I water it, give it wood for mulch. I even talk to it. I've researched online what to do and what not do. It should be a big beautiful tree. What could be the problem?
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
May 25, 2018 11:07 AM CST
Welcome!

What is the multi-trunked tree in the first photo?

What kind of soil do you have? Did you add a lot of compost and nice soil to the planting hole when you planted it?

I have a good friend who grew up in West Point. His Mom lived there until her death a few years ago.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
West Point, CA
klevers
May 25, 2018 11:47 AM CST
Hi Daisy, the tree in the first picture is a lilac. I have deer and they eat everything they can reach. I did not add anything to the hole when I planted the tree. Our soil is red dirt. That's pretty much all I know about it. Some suggested I dig it up and put compost and good soil in the hole and replant it? Is that something I should do?
West Point is a very small town. I probably knew them. I spent my summers here with my Aunt, growing up and I've lived here for a little more than 36 years.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
May 25, 2018 12:46 PM CST
Hmmm... I don't think its a nitrogen deficiency as the leaves would not be so pretty and green. Dogwoods are heavy nitrogen feeders. The wood chips would leach a little nitrogen as they break down but should boost nitrogen when they are completely decomposed. Too much nitrogen would cause big healthy green leaves but no flowers. Too little would cause stunted growth but yellow lackluster leaves.

Are you up for a science experiment? Scoop up about a half cup of red dirt and dry it on your kitchen counter. Put it in screw top jar and add a cup to a cup and a half of distilled water and shake well. Put it aside for a day or two then test the water with litmus paper.

What we are trying to discover is how acidic/basic your soil is. Dogwood trees like acidic soil and you have enough trees, etc. that the pH should be affected a little. But red dirt is heavy on iron and aluminum so your soil could be too basic to make your tree happy enough to bloom.

If you find an aquarium test kit at the nearest aquarium store or at Amazon, you can get one that will also test for nitrogen.

I'm confused about why your tree looks so good but is stunted and doesn't bloom. Maybe some answers will be in there someplace.

Keep us posted.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
West Point, CA
klevers
May 25, 2018 5:12 PM CST
It will take me a few days to get all that together. I live way far away from the only store to get that. Paper and distilled water. But I will work on it. Also there are dogwoods all the place around here. The woods and the drive through the canyon is full them. So why would my dirt be so different. Well, I guess we'll find out. Give me some time. Thanks for your help.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
May 25, 2018 6:02 PM CST
Its not your dirt that's different, its your dogwood. You didn't plant one of the natives.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Tara
NE. FL. (Zone 9a)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Organic Gardener Garden Sages Birds Frogs and Toads Dragonflies
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terrafirma
May 25, 2018 8:15 PM CST
I know that this is going to sound really "off the wall", "out in left field", but here goes... I have an Auntie that on occasion, while "talking" to her trees, plants, garden, would take a broom to the trunks! "Swatting" them into action! Not a "beating" mind you...More like a "wake up" call. She swore by it, and had the most beautiful landscape! Her plants thrived! Green Grin! Whistling
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
May 25, 2018 8:29 PM CST
Sounds like my Uncle. If his azaleas didn't perform, he said "rip them up by their roots" (literally) and then he replanted them. It always worked. I suspect he added new peat and that's what really worked. Rolling on the floor laughing
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
May 25, 2018 8:30 PM CST
@klevers Welcome! to NGA ... Smiling

Daisy is right to suggest that you check the ph in your soil.

I'd like to add a couple of thoughts of my own. I have a pink dogwood tree, 'Cherokee Brave' that the previous owner of my home sited poorly. It is growing in lousy soil and it just keeps on going. What I am saying is, that with this tree, I didn't have to have perfect soil or conditions. From what I have read, they are pretty adaptable.

As for digging up your tree, I would screech out a very loud, "DON'T DO THAT YET". Your tree is been in the ground long enough to have an established root system.

One of my own rules of thumb is not to mess with the roots of a stressed or non-performing plant until I've tried everything else.

Putting compost in a planting hole is a total waste of effort. The feeder roots of most plants are near the surface. The deeper anchor roots serve to anchor the plant in place and to pump up moisture from deeper levels. They don't feed the tree. Also, when the compost decomposes, the tree will sink ... Sighing!

It is wiser to follow what we see in nature. Nature dumps all leaves and other debris on top of the soil. It's worms and other critters that pull the nutrients from decomposing organic materials down deeper. So, I put everything on top of the soil and avoid messin' with the roots.

Also there are dogwoods all the place around here. The woods and the drive through the canyon is full them.

My guess is that if you look at the dogwoods in the woods, you would see a lot of leaf litter around them ... Smiling That's Nature's way of feeding the soil.

As a first step, I would put down mulch of any kind under the tree. Make sure the mulch doesn't touch the truck of the tree. The mulch will feed the soil and activate the soil food web that will enhance root growth.

I don't know what you have been feeding your tree with over the years. You can keep it simple by putting down some steer, or even better horse, manure. This too, will feed the soil food web. Or you can use recommended fertilizers for trees. (I have never had to take that step, so I cannot recommend anything.)
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Tara
NE. FL. (Zone 9a)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Organic Gardener Garden Sages Birds Frogs and Toads Dragonflies
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terrafirma
May 25, 2018 8:43 PM CST
Funny! I always attributed her"whippings" promoted the "juices", "blood", if you like, to jump start. To wake up, and energize the growth, or bloom.
What really brought this to my mind is the fact that the OP said the tree had been there for about 10 years. Tells me that the plant is very well established, but maybe just being "stubborn" . Stranger things have happened, and you never know... I've literally threatened some of my plants that I was going to trash them, and low and behold, they've perked up! Life is strange! And fascinating! Angel
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
Irises Garden Photography I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Butterflies Birds
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Zencat
May 25, 2018 8:45 PM CST
My grandmother's neighbor used to shake her houseplants. She said it mimicked wind from outside. Worked for her. Shrug!
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
May 25, 2018 9:59 PM CST
Tara ... if it works for you, go for it ... Rolling on the floor laughing
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
West Point, CA
klevers
May 26, 2018 10:09 AM CST
Oooohhhh.....I didn't think of that?
West Point, CA
klevers
May 26, 2018 10:14 AM CST
Yes, I have kept leaves and such as in a natural environment around the dogwoods I see blooming around. I'm going to start with checking the soil first as Daisy suggested and go from there. Thanks everyone for all the info.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
May 26, 2018 10:32 AM CST
klevers said:It will take me a few days to get all that together. I live way far away from the only store to get that. Paper and distilled water. But I will work on it. Also there are dogwoods all the place around here. The woods and the drive through the canyon is full them. So why would my dirt be so different. Well, I guess we'll find out. Give me some time. Thanks for your help.


Yes, I was thinking about how far you will have to go when I suggested the litmus and nitrogen test. Stockton? I doubt Jackson has anything. Amazon?

The family I was talking about last name is Calvin. I hope she wasn't the old lady your family argued with a lot. Smiling Her son is very nice...

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
West Point, CA
klevers
May 26, 2018 11:39 AM CST
Hahaha.....No but the name sounds familiar. My husband knows everybody up here. I usually go to Jackson. I'll find something I'm sure. There is also a pool supply there as well. I'm just not going for awhile. I just went and did my big shopping a few days ago.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
May 26, 2018 12:15 PM CST
An Aquarium store or a Hydroponics store (or a store that sells hydroponic equipement) will have the test kits.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org

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