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.
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.
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.
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.