Fertilization For Dogwoods: How And When To Feed Dogwoods Tree?
The most common question asked by many people is “How do I feed my dogwood tree?”
There are several ways to feed your dogwood tree. You can use a liquid fertilizer or soil amendment like compost tea. Another option is to use a chemical fertilizing agent such as 10% hydrogen peroxide, which will kill all fungus and bacteria in the soil and make it safe for plants.
Liquid Fertilizers For Dogwoods: Liquid fertilizers are usually applied directly into the ground around the tree. They contain nutrients that are absorbed by roots and leaves, so they’re very effective at improving plant growth. However, these types of fertilizers often cause problems when used near water sources, since they may leach chemicals into nearby water supplies.
Soil Amendments: Soil amendments are similar to liquid fertilizers, but they have additives added to them that help improve plant growth. These kinds of fertilizers are commonly used with other types of fertilizer. They’re typically applied directly into the soil around the tree. If you want to apply one of these products yourself, follow these steps:
Find a place where there’s no wind or rain, and dry off completely before starting the application process.
Using a trowel or spade, dig around the base of the tree until you reach the soil level.
Add 2 inches of soil amendment and mix it into the soil at the base of the tree until it’s evenly distributed.
Refill the hole with fresh dirt and water at least twice daily for two weeks.
Chemical Fertilizers: These are chemical compounds that contain nutrients vital to plant growth. Some of these compounds are unstable and can be dangerous if not used properly.
10% Hydrogen Peroxide: This type of fertilizer is similar to liquid fertilizers with one major difference–it’s considered a “chemical” as opposed to a “natural” fertilizer. It comes in solid blocks that turn into a liquid when water is added. Most gardeners consider it the safest and most effective way to feed plants, and it’s completely resistant to leaching.
Things to Consider Before You Pick Up a Fertilizer:
Fertilizers are classified by the percent of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium they contain. The rest of the compound is made up of various minerals and nutrients that help plants grow and thrive. The three numbers that describe a fertilizer’s make-up are always in this order. For example, a 15-5-5 fertilizer contains 15% nitrogen, 5% phosphorus and 5% potassium.
Before you start feeding your dogwood tree, think about these things:
How much time do you want to spend feeding your tree?
Some fertilizers require more maintenance than others. For example, you may need to apply a liquid fertilizer every month or use special soil amendments for the rest of the dogwood’s life. On the other hand, if you use a “chemical” fertilizer like 10% hydrogen peroxide, you’ll only need to apply it once.
Research the different types of fertilizer available to you. Check the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium levels as well as any other elements that might be added to the compound. This will help you choose a product you’re comfortable using.
Consider your tree’s needs before you pick up a bag of fertilizer. If you want to grow fruit or nuts, you’ll need a fertilizer with a higher nitrogen content. Most flowering and ornamental trees need more phosphorus to thrive, while evergreens usually require more potassium.
Make sure the fertilizer is specifically made for trees. Fertilizers designed for other plants sometimes contain chemicals that can be harmful to your dogwood if ingested.
Check the expiration date. Fertilizers don’t last forever and some lose their effectiveness after as little as one year.
Always store your fertilizer in a cool, dry place where it won’t be exposed to extreme heat or cold. Heat can cause the nitrogen in the product to evaporate, while moisture can cause mold to grow in the container. Remember to close the container completely and replace the lid.
Remember that time is of the essence when it comes to fertilizing your dogwood tree. Some products need to be applied every six weeks, while others can be used once and never again. Check the product’s label for details.
Fertilizing Your Dogwood
Some types of dogwoods grow better in certain areas than others. For example, a flowering dogwood tree probably isn’t going to fare very well if you plant it in a sandy area, while an acid-loving variety is more likely to thrive in soil that has a higher pH level.
As with most plants, the soil your dogwood tree is planted in is one of the most important factors when it comes to growing and maintaining a healthy specimen. If you want to grow a flowering dogwood in a sandy area, you need to amend the soil with more organic materials before you plant.
Planting in Clay Soil: If you want to grow a flowering dogwood tree in an area that has clay soil, it’s best to prepare the soil bed in the autumn. Work in plenty of organic materials like peat moss, rotted leaves and grass clippings. Dig a hole twice as wide as the tree’s root ball and just as deep. Place the tree in the hole and backfill it with the soil amendment, tamping it down around the root ball.
Keep backfilling the hole and tamping until the hole is completely filled.
Planting in Sandy Soil: To plant your dogwood in a sandy area, first dig a hole in an area that doesn’t flood and isn’t susceptible to erosion. Work in plenty of organic materials and sand to the existing soil until it has the texture of cookie dough. To test if the soil is ready to accommodate your dogwood’s root ball, take a handful of dirt and squeeze it into a ball. If the ball remains intact without breaking apart, the soil is ready.
The hole should be twice as wide as the root ball and as deep. Carefully place the dogwood in the hole. Backfill around the tree and tamp the soil down until the hole is filled.
Fertilizing: You should fertilize your dogwood using a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10, which contains the correct ratio of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Follow the product’s application instructions.
Watering: Dogwoods have a high moisture requirement, so you’ll need to water it often. Especially during its first year, when it’s getting established, your dogwood tree needs a thorough soaking every week. The best way to do this is to water the soil, not the leaves. If the soil is dry on top six inches, it needs water.
Do not water the leaves, as this can cause disease and pests.
Pruning: The flowering dogwood is prone to a variety of diseases and pests that can affect its appearance and health. If your dogwood is infested with insects, you can prune out the sections of wood that are affected. Always sanitize your pruning tools between cuts to prevent the spread of disease. You should also sanitize your tools if you cut into a healthy branch in order to prune out an infected one.
It’s best to prune out dead or diseased wood in the late winter or early spring before the tree starts to grow again. It is also a good idea to thin out the tree’s canopy to promote stronger and healthier growth. This should be done every three to four years as your dogwood gets older.
Sources & references used in this article:
Flowering Dogwood (Cornus Florida) by WA Mitchell – 1988 – books.google.com
Dogwood anthracnose: a new disease threatens two native Cornus species. by ML Daughtrey, CR Hibben – Annual Review of Phytopathology, 1994 – cabdirect.org
Isolation of Discula destructiva and other fungi from seeds of dogwood trees. by KO Britton, RW Roncadori, FF Hendrix – Plant disease, 1993 – cabdirect.org
Growing dogwood by GL Wade – 2009 – athenaeum.libs.uga.edu