Gardening column: Where are the dogwoods? | Columnists

Audrey J. Powers

The weather conditions is warming up, and with it comes the flowers of spring. There are various species of trees and shrubs that set on a demonstrate in the early areas of spring that make the season so amazing. Lots of of these species are native and are an integral aspect of the South. Several of the early bloomers have presently come and gone. The state flower, the Carolina Jessamine, which typically marks the end of winter season, is even now in bloom. But there looks one thing missing from the landscape. A tree that at just one time was just one of the most popular flowering trees through the South: the dogwood.

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The flowering dogwood, Cornus florida, is a small indigenous tree for the Southeast. It grows everywhere from 20 ft to 40 feet tall with a wonderful branching that spreads out in tiers, developing a one of a kind search. While the dogwood is not a speedy grower, it does set on far more top a lot quicker in the shade. The flowering dogwood grows ideal as an understory tree thriving in dappled sunlight and can be viewed all over the forests of South Carolina. It generally commences to bloom in the late winter, early spring in advance of the onset of new leaves. Interestingly, the bouquets are really situated at the center of what is acknowledged as bracts, or modified leaves intended to seem like flower petals.

The flowering dogwood grows ideal with partial shade and cooler soils. Nevertheless they are adaptable to a wide variety of soil sorts, offer them with fertile, nicely-drained soils that stay rather moist. They also prefer soils with a higher organic and natural issue content material which may perhaps be complicated in this article in this location without having suitable planning. As with a lot of crops in the space, they like to have a little acidic soils, a pH of 5.5 to 6.. The last point to observe is that dogwoods want a first rate layer of mulch encompassing the tree, ideally about 8 feet from the trunk. The finest time to plant a dogwood, like other trees, is likely to be in the fall.

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Now the major worry is why there are not extra of these stunning trees all over the Lowcountry. The flowering dogwood is generally synonymous with the South, and nevertheless they are incredibly absent from quite a few of the area landscapes. The most important difficulty sad to say is the amount of problems that crop up with the dogwood. The first detail to take note is that dogwoods do not tolerate dry soils, or for that subject extremely wet soils. If there is a concern with flooding in your area, then the dogwood will very likely not function. And of class, throughout durations of drought, it is needed to give supplemental irrigation to avoid pressure generating even worse complications.

gardening column dogwood spot anthracnose

Fungi like place anthracnose can afflict dogwood leaves and guide to early decrease of the trees. Christopher Burtt/Supplied

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Conditions are a frequent trouble all through the location with inconsistent nonetheless major rainfall and significant humidity. This suggests the ailment-inclined dogwood’s condition prevalence is even a lot more of a concern. The two far more typical health conditions that I have observed among dogwoods is that of powdery mildew, which as the name indicates is a white powder-like advancement on the surface area of the leaf, and anthracnose.

Powdery mildew occurs commonly on the new progress and tends to be extra frequent in the late summertime. The sickness does result in leaf scorch and discoloration on the foliage and is distribute by wind, which makes management complicated if there are extra dogwoods present in the place. That becoming explained, there are some chemical controls for powdery mildew, creating it a workable problem.

Anthracnose, on the other hand, is far more trigger for concern. There are two styles of anthracnose: location anthracnose and dogwood anthracnose. Location anthracnose is the most popular foliar ailment on dogwoods, and it has an effect on the flower bracts first. Whilst it tends to only bring about slight damage, repeated severe bacterial infections can lead to the tree to weaken around time. Dogwood anthracnose is a fairly new condition but does include another issue to the record.

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All of this does create some induce for worry. While usually a flowering dogwood really should are living up to 80 years, the ailment and insect pressures have prompted them to decline far more quickly, primary the fewer dogwoods and consequently considerably less opportunity to take pleasure in this wonderful species. The fantastic news is that there are initiatives to boost this tree by breeding and improved illness resistance. As a result of the use of each the Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) and the Cornelian cherry dogwood (Cornus mas) in both changing the flowering dogwood or in hybridizing them, this magnificent flowering tree can with any luck , at the time yet again turn out to be a staple for the Southern garden.

For much more facts about the dogwood, pay a visit to the Household and Garden Information and facts web site or get hold of your nearby extension place of work.

Christopher Burtt is the Urban Horticulture Extension Agent and Master Gardener Coordinator for Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties. He can be reached by e mail at [email protected].

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