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November 10, 2018
We have a mature dogwood tree that has dead limbs. When is the best time of the year
to trim the dead wood? We also have several oaks that I trim every 2 years to get
the “suckers “off the 1st 30 feet of trunk. They keep coming back, when should I trim?
If you are sure you have dead branches, remove them as soon as you see them. Sometimes
trees shed leaves early and you aren’t 100% sure what is dead and what is simply dormant.
Suckers or sprouts on oak trees can occur if a tree is stressed. It is the trees
way of trying to grow a new branch. If you don’t want them, cut them when you see
February 10, 2018
I have a dogwood that got blown over last spring and is still alive. Its leaves stayed
green all summer and it has set buds this fall/winter. It is half in and half out
of the soil, leaning at a sharp angle. Most likely I will remove it, however I wonder
if all or part of it could be saved in some form. I haven't tried yet and suspect
it may not be achievable easily, but what is your opinion on up righting the tree
from its current state? If not feasible could I cut off all but a few feet of the
trunk, then upright it and "replant?" Or might I be able to root a new tree from a
young limb in a pot or "plant" a current branch as it says, then remove the main tree
after the branch roots?
Dogwoods are not the most resilient tree, once wounded they often linger for a few
years and then die. This one seems to be half uprooted as well. I would get the
roots in the ground as soon as possible. I would think any that have been exposed
this long are damaged already. If it were mine, I would toss it and start over, but
if you want to try, cut it off near the ground, replant it, covering up the roots
and then see if it begins to grow. If it does, choose the strongest sucker it produces
to be the new tree. If it is in a focal spot, this will take a while, so you might
be better served simply buying a new tree.
September 9, 2017
I would very much appreciate your opinion on the following. A family who has plots
next to my family plots at a local cemetery wants to plant a couple of dogwood trees
between the families’ plots. I have to agree to this before they can do this .A representative
of the cemetery advises against it, as he is afraid the roots will encroach on the
markers and cause problems down the road. I hate to say no, but I lean toward taking
the advice of the cemetery representative.
First question is: is there water available for the dogwoods, and is there a little
shade? Dogwoods are shallow-rooted trees that prefer morning sun and afternoon shade.
If they are going to be totally out in the open and left to fend for themselves, they
won't survive. If they have a good location and care, they would be beautiful small
trees, and would not typically cause problems uprooting things.
August 26, 2017
My dogwood leaves look bad with spots all over them. What should I spray with to stop
Our mild, wet summer has led to more leaf spotting diseases than normal, but this
late in the season it is not cause for concern. Rake the leaves as they fall and
get rid of them. Watch the new growth in the spring and if you see problems, then
consider spraying. Right now there are few dogwoods or hydrangeas that don’t have
some leaf damage.
May 20, 2017
We have a 6 year old Cornus florida, flowering dogwood that must have partially died
with the drought last year in Fayetteville, AR. This spring it is leafing out on
only about 1/4 of its branches, the others are lifeless and dried up at least at the
ends. Would you advise me about pruning out the dead wood or not pruning it? How
long should I give it to find out what is alive still and how do I determine how far
back to prune it, if that is what I should do.Thanks again, a fellow MG.
Once a dogwood tree begins to decline, it is very hard to reverse. We did have some
erratic weather this spring and some plants did not leaf out well at first, but by
now you should have foliage on any branches that are alive. If you only have 25% of
the tree living, I would call it quits and remove it and start over. If you want
to give it one more shot, cut back to green growth and see what happens. Dogwoods
are not drought-tolerant trees, and when they are in decline they are a calling card
for borers to finish off the job.
February 18, 2017
I believe my dogwood tree has a fungal disease that will eventually kill it. I heard
the disease can spread through roots to other plants. We have some azaleas nearby.
Should we remove the tree? Treat it? I'm not one to pay for a service to spray
I am not sure what disease you are referring to. Is it a root rot problem or a foliar
leaf spotting disease? Root rots can be a result of poorly drained soils which can
affect other plants, but I don’t know of any dogwood disease that would affect other
plants. Before removal of the tree, I would make sure you know what disease you are
dealing with and how much damage has been done to the dogwood tree. Sometimes they
are too far gone to save, but if the problem is a leaf-spotting disease, we can turn
things around with good sanitation, fungicide sprays and nutrition. Take a sample
of the problem to your local county extension office for a proper identification.
November 26, 2016
Could you please shed some light into what type of dogwood tree I have that produces
this fruit? Are they edible?
The fruit you have is from the Kousa dogwood—Cornus kousa. In a mild growing season
they can become quite large and showy--much showier than the berries on our native
dogwood. The fruits are edible, but I have never eaten them so cannot describe the
My neighbors Dogwood tree has almost died this summer and mine has a number of dead
limbs. Should I cut them out now? If so should they be painted with pruning paint?
If you are sure the limbs are dead and haven't just defoliated early, then go ahead
and prune out the dead wood. You should not use a pruning paint or wound dressing--the
key is a nice clean cut. Prune them out at the branch collar--not flush with the
trunk of the tree, but not leaving a stub either. Dogwood trees don't handle stress
well. Whether it is wounding from a lawnmower or weed-eater, drought stress, storm
damage or ice damage, once they begin to decline, it can be difficult to reverse the
trend. Take a close look at the tree next spring when the tree leafs out. Make sure
you keep the tree watered, as dogwoods are very shallow rooted. If you are fertilizing
your lawn area, you are also getting fertilizer to the tree.
I have several young dogwood trees in my yard. I noticed that all of my neighbor’s
trees are beginning to set berries, while mine has none. How can I encourage berries
now, so I will have blooms in the spring?
Berries are a by-product of flowers, not a precursor to them. Young trees which had
no blooms this past spring will have no berries this fall. You can see emerging flower
buds at the tip of the branches. The leaf buds are small and pointy, while the flower
buds are rounded and come to a center point. There is little that can be done now
to encourage flowers for next year. Most flower buds are already set. Young trees
usually go through rapid vegetative growth, with flowers coming on after the tree
slows down with age.
June 18, 2016
We have a dogwood tree in our front yard for 16 years and it has hardly grown at all
and has very few blooms. Do we need to move it or trim it or what do we do? There
are two large trees around it and it doesn't get a lot of sun. But the dogwoods in
the forest don't get much sun either and they bloom.
If the tree isn’t growing much, I would say something is impeding the roots from growing
well. Dogwoods are understory trees which need filtered sunlight or morning sun and
afternoon shade to bloom well. They will not bloom in deep shade, but they should
still grow. Is the soil extremely rocky? If you think it needs to be moved the
time to do it so would be in the fall.
April 1, 2016
We have a sun room with windows that reach from 1 foot above the floor to 1 foot below
the ceiling. Just outside the room about 8 to 10 feet away is a bed of 4 dogwoods
that are about 20 feet tall. The bottom half of the trees have no limbs and therefore
no blossoms that are visible. The upper parts of the trees have zillions of blossoms
that we cannot see from our room. I water the trees religiously during the dry periods.
Is it possible to trim the dogwood trees back to about 10 feet tall and make them
develop branches and blossoms low enough for us to see from our windows? If so, when in the year should we trim them, at what point on a branch
should we trim them? Is there anything else we should know or do?
Anything is possible, but is it healthy for the tree to be pruned that severely? We
normally don’t like to prune more than 1/3 of the plant at one time. Pruning that
severely would not be a once only process. Eventually the trees will grow tall again,
and you will have to continually prune. What about planting some lower growing blooming
plants as understory plants to add to your color, or selectively prune a few branches
to get some lower limbs. Shearing all of them to ten feet would seem a bit unnatural
to me. Any pruning should be done immediately after bloom in the spring.
November 28, 2015
I had two trees removed from my back yard early last summer; a Bradford Pear (Fire
Blight) and a Maple (Slime Flux?) Now I'm looking for replacement trees. I really
don't need shade as this is in the East yard, therefore, I would prefer something
not to exceed 20 - 25 feet tall. I'm leaning towards a holly but will consider other
evergreens. The soil I'm dealing with is heavy orange clay. In fact the Maple I removed
had a lot of surface roots. Thank you for any suggestions?
The maple would have probably had surface roots even in decent soil—that is the nature
of maples. I am assuming you want something evergreen. Some options include: Little
Gem magnolia, Foster holly, Burford holly, deodara cedar, cherry laurel or one of
the larger junipers. If it doesn’t have to be evergreen, I love the sweetbay magnolia
or even one of the tulip magnolia trees, redbuds or dogwoods.
I have a tree that I planted as a dogwood this March, and in spite of continued watering
it had withered leaves all summer. I had given it up for dead but now it has sprouted
all these red berries - wasn't aware that dogwoods produced berries. Does it look
dead to you?
It is definitely a dogwood, and the red berries are the fruits that came from the
flowers it bore this spring. The plant is definitely scorched, which could be from
stress because it was newly planted and we had a horrid summer, but it also could
be sunburn if it was planted in direct sunlight. Dogwoods do best in filtered sunlight
or afternoon shade. The tree is not dead, but it isn’t happy. I see new leaf buds
already set for next spring. For now, just be patient and see how well it leafs out
next spring. If you think it is in the wrong location, you could transplant it now.
I live in Cabot and my house gets full sun the entire day. I went to a tree giveaway
and got a little fir tree, a red oak and a dogwood. Would any of those be good for
backyard plants? Will the dogwood do well in full sun? All of them are very young
trees! I am thinking of putting a red maple in the back yard with loropetalum and
azaleas to hide the cable box. I have never lived in Arkansas and don't know your
Welcome to Arkansas. Dogwoods would not do well in full sun all day—they would sunburn
every summer. They are best in full morning sun or filtered sun. The oak tree is a
wonderful shade tree and by fir, I am assuming you have a bald cypress maybe? It too
will make a large shade tree. Red maples are great mid-sized trees. If you want one
with guaranteed fall color, choose one now with color or go with a named cultivar.
Recently, we purchased a home with a dogwood tree that we would like to transplant
to another area in the yard. It looks to be about 5 years old. When would be the best
time to transplant this tree?
Actually, the transplant season has just begun. From November through February is
the ideal time to move existing hardy plants. The plants are going dormant and they
can spend the winter months reestablishing their root system to prepare for the growing
season. Try to have the new site ready before you dig up the tree, and protect the
roots during the move—don’t leave them exposed to cold temperatures for too long.
Plant it at the same depth it is currently growing, or slightly shallower. Water and
mulch will be all that is needed until growth begins in the spring.
The Conservation District in our county in their "Beautification Tree Project" offered
a choice of thirteen ornamental trees for sale. Some were native, others included
some alien invasive species, such as Cleveland Pear and the Mimosa tree. What is the
effect of adding these trees to our landscape and neighborhoods? As good stewards
what should be recommended or omitted from planting in our communities?
In looking at the plant list I have to commend them for making some great trees available
at really good prices. Two named cultivars of red maple, the native fringe tree, dogwood
and tulip poplar, in addition to yellowwood, smoke tree, redbud and golden raintree
are great trees. It looks like they are going for trees that have some form of color,
whether from flowers or from fall foliage. The Cleveland pear fits the bill, but is
not high on my list of favorites. It is a smaller adult form of the ornamental pear
which we collectively often call Bradford, but it still can fruit and become invasive.
We have seedling callery pears coming up all over our state. The mimosa, however,
I do consider a trash tree. Many folks like them, but they often suffer from mimosa
wilt and send up seedlings, so not a good choice.(
I have a 25 year old dogwood tree that is blooming now. I noticed a couple full sized
blooms last Saturday. Sunday I noticed one additional branch full of smaller blooms.
How unusual is this? The dry hot summer has stressed the tree, which has about half
its leaves withered and brown. I had never pruned the tree, until July of this year,
when I remove quite a few of the lower limbs to allow sunlight to shrubs and various
plants under the dogwood. I painted the wounds where I cut off the branches.
You are not alone--many spring bloomers have had some errant blooms this fall. My
loropetalum shrub is in full bloom right now! Many of our plants set their flower
buds early and shut down early to deal with our horrendous summer. Then we finally
got some rain, it turned cool, heated up again and they thought spring had arrived.
There is nothing you can do but enjoy the blooms. Assess the damage next spring to
your tree from the summer heat and prune as needed after they finish blooming next
spring. Tree paints for pruning cuts are not needed--a nice clean cut is all you want.
I have never heard of this, but my young dogwood (about 3 years old) is getting ready
to bloom! Is it normal for a dogwood to bloom in October?
Flower buds should be set—dogwoods often set them as early as late July some years,
but blooming is another story. Are they just full of buds or actually showing flower
We live in Bella Vista and have several large black walnut trees on our property.
We have tried a crape myrtle and a red tip but both died. What is it about the black
walnut trees that cause shrubs and bushes to die? Can you recommend any thing that
will grow when planted 16 to 20 feet from a walnut tree?
Black walnuts produce a chemical called juglone, which occurs in all parts of the
tree, especially in the buds, nut hulls, and roots. The leaves contain smaller quantities
and can leach juglone into the soil if they are left on the ground after falling.
Many plants are adversely affected by the juglone, but it is more typical of plants
within the drip line of the tree. For small flowering trees that are not affected
try dogwood, redbud, fringe tree or serviceberry. Shrubs include forsythia, viburnums,
altheas and sumacs. Try to plant things that are adversely affected at least 40 feet
away and don't use the leaves as mulch. If you can create a raised bed that can also
Last July we had three large (8-ft.) healthy dogwoods planted in our yard. This spring
two of them bloomed beautifully. However, the third had no blooms, but is leafing
out. What should I expect from this tree in the future?
Just like with the earlier azalea question, many plants will not bloom perfectly their
first year after planting. With dogwoods, age can also be a factor in blooming. Some
dogwoods will stay growing in a juvenile stage longer, putting on more growth during
the season, before they slow down and begin to bloom. Once they begin flowering, you
should have blooms annually provided the shade factor doesn’t increase. Like the azaleas,
dogwoods are considered under-story plants. They like filtered sunlight or direct
morning light, with protection from the hot afternoon sun. While they bloom well with
direct afternoon sunlight exposure, the foliage often suffers from sunburn in late
summer, and they definitely need more water. In heavy shade, they won’t bloom well
if at all.
I have a white dogwood tree with yellow leaves falling from it. Some of the leaves
seem to have black spots and the tree looks a bit wilted. Do I need to be concerned?
I would take a sample of the diseased materials to your local county extension office.
This season we have been seeing signs of the dogwood anthracnose (Discula destructive)
that is more dangerous than the small spotted form of dogwood anthracnose (Elsinoe
corni) which we have had for years. Symptoms of D.destructive begin in the lower crown
and progress up the tree. Leaf lesions start as tan spots with purple rims, but can
rapidly enlarge to large leaf blotches. If you do have this anthracnose, fungicide
sprays would be warranted for control, along with pruning. Here is a link to a newsletter
from our plant disease clinic with more information on the disease complete with pictures:
My neighbors Dogwood tree has almost died. Mine has a number of dead limbs. Should
I cut them out? If so should they be painted with pruning paint?
If you are sure the limbs are dead and haven't just defoliated early, then go ahead
and prune out the dead wood. You should not use a pruning paint or wound dressing--the
key is a nice clean cut. Prune them out at the branch collar--not flush with the trunk
of the tree, but not leaving a stub either. Dogwood trees don't handle stress well.
Whether it is wounding from a lawnmower or weed-eater, drought stress, storm damage
or ice damage, once they begin to decline, it can be difficult to reverse the trend.
Take a close look at the tree next spring when the tree leafs out. Make sure you keep
the tree watered, as dogwoods are very shallow rooted. If you are fertilizing your
lawn area, you are also getting fertilizer to the tree.
I have a white dogwood tree that is about three years old. It has not grown much
and never flowered. This year the new leaves are starting to curl and have a white
substance on them. It is getting plenty of water, in fact, maybe too much with the
rain that we are having. It is planted in the shade of two giant oak trees. Is this
something I need to worry about...what do I need to do to stop whatever this is and
how do I prevent this problem in the future?
Your tree is too young to bloom, so simply give it time for that. The curling leaves
and white substance are caused by powdery mildew, a common fungal disease. Overhead
watering (i.e. rainfall too,) coupled with high humidity is the culprit. When you
water, try to keep the foliage dry, or at least water early enough in the day that
moisture doesn't remain on the foliage overnight. There are fungicides that can help,
but it is difficult to get a handle on once it starts for that season. If the tree
is in heavy shade, it may never bloom, and that can also reduce air circulation making
the powdery mildew worse. This has also proven to be a good year for powdery mildew
on a variety of plants. Sprays will give limited help this year. If the problem becomes
an annual one, then preventative sprays would be called for. For more information
on powdery mildew get a copy of our fact sheet 6113, which you can read on line at
www.uaex.uada.edu or get a copy from your local county extension office.
I have a pink dogwood that I planted in the winter of 2004. It only had two blossoms
on it last year, and this year it doesn't have any! I have talked to others who have
had similar problems. My tree is in full sun, but it gets a lot of water. It seems
very healthy, but just no flowers. Any ideas?
It is not unusual for a young dogwood not to bloom. The blooms you had last year were
on the plant when you bought it in the winter of 2004. Dogwoods set their flower buds
in the late summer or fall of the previous season. They often bloom while in containers
because they are root bound and not able to put on much top growth. Once they are
free to grow, they spend their formative years growing, and once they mature, they
slow down and begin to bloom. Just be patient, and you will have a blooming plant
before too many years go by.
We live in the forest and have several dogwood trees on our property as well as a
number in the woods surrounding our home. Some bloom profusely one year and the next
year have few if any blooms. Some are in full sun and others are located in shady
areas. Location does not seem to have an effect on the number of flowers each tree
has. Is there anything that we can do to help them bloom?
Dogwoods set their flower buds in late summer. Sometimes it can take five to seven
years before they mature enough to begin blooming. Once they begin, they should bloom
annually. The amount of blooms can vary based on the amount of sunlight they receive
and the weather conditions. If it is particularly hot and dry at the end of the summer,
and they are not getting supplemental water, they may not set as many flower buds.
If they are plagued with the disease powdery mildew, that can also affect the number
of flower buds they set. In my opinion the ideal conditions for dogwoods are morning
sun and afternoon shade, a well drained soil supplemented with organic matter. They
need regular water when it is dry. They will grow well in the shade, but will not
bloom in deep shade.
If things go as planned we will be moving into a new home in a couple of months. We
want a couple of trees in front of the house. Would maple or dogwood be ok and if
so is there a particular kind ? We will have close to 100 ft. across the lot. It is
in the Hot Springs area.
Dogwoods would be a good choice only as an understory plant. They need a bit of protection
from the hottest afternoon sun. You may want to get some shade trees established.
Red maples are great trees, but do be aware that they can have surface roots. To be
guaranteed the red fall color, look for a named cultivar such as 'October Glory' or
'Red Sunset'. Some other good shade trees that are tough and durable are Little Leaf
Linden--Tilia cordata, Lacebark Elm--Ulmus parvifolia and blackgum- Nyssa sylvatica.
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