Planting a dogwood tree

Nothing quite says Spring is here like dogwood trees blooming!

The beautiful blooms of the dogwood tree.

Dogwood trees are well-known and revered for their beautiful pink, white or reddish blooms in early to mid-spring. The blooms can last for up to 3 or 4 weeks, signaling the start of the summer is just around the corner.

Their showy blooms give way to beautiful green foliage on sturdy, well-defined limbs. In the fall, leaves turn to beautiful hues of red and purple. They even add interest in the wintertime with their gorgeous limb structure. Some species even produce red berries that bring even more color to nature’s pallet.

Dogwoods, native to the Eastern portions of the United States, are a wonderful addition to the landscape. Once established, they require little long-term other than minor pruning and shaping.

Selecting And Locating Dogwood Trees

A Kousa Dogwood Tree

Dogwoods perform best in partial sun, although they can survive in both full shade and totally sunny locations. They require a fair amount of water, so locating them in partial shade is a better option for best success. Dogwoods also benefit from a little protection, whether it be from other trees, or structures.

As for varieties to plant, the two most well-known are the Flowering Dogwood and Kousa Dogwood. The Flowering Dogwood is native to the US, and the most well know of the Dogwood family. The Kousa Dogwood variety is native to China and Japan. It flowers a bit later on average than the Flowering Dogwood, and produces a slightly different berry. Product Links: 1 GL. White Flowering Dogwood Tree – Kousa Pink Bareroot Dogwood

How To Plant

The best time to plant Dogwood trees is in the early fall or spring. They can be planted from bare root, or from potted root balls. If you are planting bare root stock, you will definitely need to plant in fall or early spring, before the tree begins to bud and flower. Dogwoods planted as root ball trees can be dug in at any time, but the spring and fall are still better, providing less stress on the trees.

The red berries that form on some dogwood trees

Dogwoods prefer rich and fertile ground to grow strong. Amend planting holes with a 50 percent mixture of compost to soil. Dogwood trees should have their crown set slightly above the soil, not below. When planting, set the root ball in the hole, and be sure the top of the root ball is about 1/4 above ground. Water the tree thoroughly when first set in the hole, and then again after planting.

Mulch can be used around the drip line of the tree to help retain moisture, but take care to keep it away from direct contact from the trunk.

Newly planted Dogwood trees need to have regular watering during their first full year of growth. Water ever week or two during the first growing season. If it is extremely hot, or you have long stints of dry periods, you will need to water more frequently.

Long Term Care

Dogwood require little long-term care. Prune back any dead or diseased limbs as needed. For all additional pruning or shaping, remove limbs and suckers during the summer. This helps to eliminate removing potential blooms in the off season, and keeps the sap to a minimum. Dogwoods heal over quickly from a pruning cut in the summer, but in the cool months, they can bleed sap for a long period.

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Dogwood Trees in Missouri: How-to Guide

Missouri would not be the same without the yearly spectacle of blooming dogwoods we’ve all come to know and love. These unsuspecting trees hideout as for most of the year until their famous white and pink flowers arrive around April.

Flowering dogwoods are the official state tree of Missouri, which make them an obvious choice for yards in the area. Thinking about growing or planting your own dogwood? Keep reading for some tips and tricks for the plant, or give us a call to help you get started without the hassle.

A flowering Dogwood tree in Missouri

About Dogwoods

The name “dogwood” originates back to as early as the 16th century in England. It is possible the name came about because the tree’s bark (which is rich in tannin) was once used to help cure mange in dogs.

Flowering dogwoods are the state tree of Missouri as well as the state flower of both North Carolina and Virginia. They grow wild throughout the forests around the Ozark Mountains, but planted trees are found in yards and gardens all over the state.

In Missouri, dogwoods typically bloom around the third or fourth week in April. On this timeline, blooms will fade by early May. A warmer year may see earlier blooms, and a colder year may see them later, but seeing bloom in mid-to-late April is the flower’s usual timeline for central Missouri.

Dogwood blossoms can also come in pink

Planting a Dogwood

Early spring is the best time to plant your very own dogwood tree. It is best to plant your new tree before it begins to bud to give it time to establish a proper root system and adjust to the soil before the start of the bloom.

Dogwood trees do best when planted in a spot that allows them to have some shade during the hottest parts of the day. However, dogwoods are an adaptable plant and can still grow well in full, direct sunlight.

Make sure that the location you choose for your dogwood tree is well-drained and surrounded by fertile soil.

If you want to plant your own dogwood this spring, it is best to plant them no deeper than you’d find them in a nursery. You will have the best luck with your new tree in about 8 to 12 inches of loosened soil. Ideally, the area will be about two or three times the diameter of the root ball of your tree. If you are having trouble deciding where or how to plant, a landscaping service can be used as a low-effort alternative to self-planting.

A fully matured Dogwood tree

Caring For a Dogwood

For the first two growing seasons after planing your dogwood, make sure your plant is adequately (but not over) watered. During dry periods, watering your tree once or twice a week with a hose or irrigation system should ensure it has the water it needs to grow.

Take care with fertilizing your new dogwood tree. Inexperienced gardeners are more likely to over-fertilize, which can actually hinder rather than help the growth of the plant. A good rule of thumb is to is not to give your young tree more than ¼ cup of high-nitrogen fertilizer once in March and again in July. You can do this by spreading the fertilizer evenly around the tree about two feet away from the trunk.

During the tree’s dormant period, you can prune your dogwood to control its shape to your desired size. Pruning the branches improves the look of your plant but can also encourage airflow and boost growth and disease control.

Plant Your Own Tree This Spring

Having your own Missouri dogwood could be easier than you think. Plant one yourself, or contact the expert landscapers at Voss Land & Tree to plant the tree for you this season.

Dogwood Trees Native to Illinois

Learn more about Dogwood trees native to Illinois and how to plant one and care for one in your own yard

To continue our ongoing series highlighting the native trees in the Chicago region, we will cover the dogwood tree. Dogwood trees are found throughout the Chicago area because they are a very popular ornamental tree. Most species of dogwood have stunning flowers that bloom early in the spring and in the fall, the green leaves turn to brilliant purples and reds. Dogwoods are also small to medium sized trees and do not need a lot of space to grow. The fall colors and flowers of the dogwood, along with its ability to grow in smaller spaces, is why homeowners and commercial property owners commonly include dogwood trees in their yards or landscapes.

While there are many different species of dogwood trees, there are two that are native to Illinois: flowering dogwoods and pagoda dogwoods. This guide contains general information about both types of native dogwood trees, including common characteristics, proper care tips, and biggest threats such as insects and disease. At Hendricksen Tree Care, we understand how an in-bloom dogwood tree can add much color and beauty to your yard or landscape. Our arborists can provide professional tree care for native dogwood trees as well as prevent and treat problems caused by disease or insects.

Main Characteristics of Dogwood Trees

Dogwood trees are both native to Chicagoland and commonly planted in parks and used for landscaping homes throughout the suburbs of Illinois

Dogwood trees are small to medium sized deciduous trees that are known for their showy flowers. Pagoda dogwoods (Cornus alternifolia) are found in the northeast United States and southeast Canada from Newfoundland to Minnesota, and flowering dogwoods (Cornus florida) are found in eastern North America from Maine down to northern Mexico.

Both of these species of dogwood share many common characteristics, including an average height of 15-30 feet, showy flowers that bloom early in the spring, red and purple fall foliage, and drupe fruits that attract birds. Flowering dogwoods and pagoda dogwoods also both grow best in acidic soil which you should keep in mind when planting a new dogwood. With the right care and conditions, a dogwood tree can live up to 80 years.

The following are the specific characteristics of each type of native dogwood:

Flowering Dogwood trees are a common sight in the Springtime in Arlington Heights, IL

Flowering Dogwoods

  • Height: Flowering dogwoods usually grow between 20 and 40 feet in height and can be 20 feet wide when fully mature.
  • Leaves: The leaves of a flowering dogwood are round in shape with a pointed tip and they grow opposite. They are green in season but turn reddish brown in the fall.
  • Flowers: Flowering dogwoods have showy flowers that bloom in the spring. The flowers typically have 4 oval-shaped bracts (like a pedal) that are typically red, pink, or white in color. A greenish flower cluster is in the center of the flower where the bracts meet.
  • Fruit: Flowering dogwoods produce clusters of drupes which are berry like fruits with a seed in the middle. The flesh of the drupes ranges in color from red to orange.
  • Bark: The bark of a flowering dogwood is grayish brown in color with darker colored inner bark. The texture of the bark appears blocky.

Pagoda Dogwoods

  • Height: Pagoda dogwoods generally grow to be between 15 and 25 feet tall, and on rare occasions can reach up to 30 feet. Their width when mature ranges from 20 to 30 feet.
  • Leaves: The leaves of a pagoda dogwood are oval shaped and grow alternate on the branch. They are medium green in color in season and become red and purple in the fall.
  • Flowers: The flowers of a pagoda dogwood are small and white, and they grow in small clusters at the ends of the branches.
  • Fruit: Pagoda dogwoods also produce small drupes, but they are bluish-black in color.
  • Bark: The bark of a pagoda dogwood is reddish brown in color with shallow, vertical ridges.

Native Illinois Dogwood Trees

As we have discussed, the flowering dogwood and pagoda dogwood are the two main types of dogwood trees native to the Chicago region. There are several varieties of each of these main types that can be found throughout the area.

Types of Flowering Dogwoods in Illinois

  • Cherokee Chief Flowering Dogwood: The Cherokee Chief dogwood is a smaller tree that grows to about 20 feet in height. It is known for its bright red flowers.
  • Cloud 9 Flowering Dogwood: This dogwood tree can grow between 15 and 30 feet tall and it has showy white flowers.
  • Dwarf Red Flowering Dogwood: Dwarf red dogwoods are small trees that grow no more than 5 to 6 feet tall. Its flowers are generally pink to red in color.
  • Stellar Pink Flowering Dogwood: These dogwoods grow to about 20 feet in height and they are known for their pink flowers.
  • Sweetwater Red Flowering Dogwood: Sweetwater red dogwoods grow to about 20 feet in height and they have reddish foliage and flowers that turn burgundy on the fall.

Types of Pagoda Dogwoods in Illinois

  • Gold Bullion Pagoda Dogwood: These smaller dogwoods grow to be about 8 to 10 feet tall and they have yellow foliage.
  • Golden Shadows Pagoda Dogwood: These plants are also relatively small with yellowish white leaves.

Threats to Dogwood Trees – Diseases and Pests

Spring flower blooms on Dogwood trees are especially striking throughout the landscape in Illinois

Both flowering dogwoods and pagoda dogwoods are vulnerable to a number of diseases and pests that can damage and even kill the tree. Certain conditions such as drought stress, poorly drained soil, and excessive wind can make dogwoods more susceptible to disease and pest infestations. The following are the most common threats to native dogwood trees in Illinois:

  • Anthracnose: This is a serious disease that can affect all types of dogwoods. A fungus known as Discula destructiva causes cankers which are growths of dead tissue that will eventually grow large enough to cause damage to the tree. This disease can be lethal for dogwoods, so it is important to recognize the signs early for treatment.
  • Golden stem canker: This is another kind of canker disease that is only known to affect pagoda dogwoods. Golden canker affects the branches of the tree, causing them to turn yellow and eventually die. This disease is caused by a fungus called Cryptodiaporthe corni and it starts at the tips of the branches, eventually making its way to the main branches.
  • Minor leaf infections: Dogwoods, like most ornamental trees, are susceptible to minor leaf infections or diseases. This happens when bacteria or fungi cause spots of discoloration on the leaves that tend to be dark in color. If these infections are not treated, they could result in defoliation of the tree.
  • Dogwood borer: The dogwood borer is a flying insect with a long slender body that almost looks like a bee with its black and yellow stripes. Its larvae, which are 3 to 5 inches long and generally pink or light orange in color, live inside the tree and bore into the wood as they travel and eat. Areas affected by dogwood borers appear wet and the bark detaches easily. A serious infestation can cause entire branches to break off the tree.
  • Scale insects: Scale insects affect many types of trees, including dogwoods. They are tiny oval shaped insects covered by a tan or brown shell and they feed on the sap inside the twigs and branches. This depletes the tree of important nutrients and makes it more vulnerable to disease causing bacteria and fungus.

Dogwood Tree Care Tips

Dogwood trees are a favorite ornamental tree because of the beauty they bring to yards and landscapes, and they require proper tree care to maintain their stunning colors and flowers. If you are planting a new dogwood tree, make sure you put it in acidic soil, somewhere sheltered from the wind. The following tips will help you care for your mature dogwood trees:

  • Mulching: Dogwood trees have a shallow root system that needs mulch to help retain moisture and keep the soil temperature cool. Apply 4 to 6 inches of mulch around the base of your dogwood tree.
  • Watering: Dogwood trees benefit from a deep watering if there is a drought or heat wave. You do not have to water these trees regularly, but you must water them often enough to prevent the soil from drying out.
  • Pruning: It is best to prune dogwood trees when they are dormant to remove damaged or dead branches. Pruning a Dogwood tree in, especially a large one like those seen in the Chicago suburbs, can be dangerous and should generally be handled by professional tree trimmers such as Hendricksen Tree Care.

Professional Tree Services for your Native Dogwood Trees in Northwest Chicagoland

Flowering Dogweed trees in Illinois can make any residential or commercial property look stunning year round

All varieties of dogwood trees have stunning, showy flowers and vibrant fall colors, making them a favorite ornamental tree for homeowners and landscapers throughout the Chicago region. Without the proper care, your dogwoods will not display the brilliant colors that they are known for. Our arborists at Hendricksen Tree Care can provide effective care and maintenance for your dogwood trees that includes tree trimming, fertilization, and treatment for pests and diseases. We are happy to provide continuing care for your Dogwood trees so that they have long, healthy lives at your Chicago residence.

Hendricksen Tree Care provides complete tree care services for the northwest Chicago suburbs including Northbrook, Arlington Heights, Park Ridge, Palatine, and the surrounding communities.

Stay tuned for the next part of our serious about the native trees of Chicago.

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