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  #1  
Old June 19th, 2004, 10:46 PM
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Dogwoods that won't bloom

We moved into our home in South Jersey approximately 5 years ago in late fall. The next fall I planted two white dogwood and one pink dogwood. We live on a one acre property among a dense cover of scarlet oak and white oak, and several holly and pitch pine. The dogwood were 3-4 feet tall when planted. The white dogwood bloomed (approximately 3-5 blooms per tree) the first spring, but have failed to bloom for the past three springs. The pink dogwood has had only 1-2 blooms each spring. Our soil tends toward the acidic. I use shredded oak leaves for mulch. I do not feed the trees. The white dogwood were planted near a dense pachasandra ground cover. DO you have any ideas as to the problem? Trees show new growth each year and appear healthy, but the lack of blooms is disappointing. Thank you.
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  #2  
Old August 24th, 2005, 09:26 AM
chester@msu.edu chester@msu.edu is offline
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Re: Dogwoods that won't bloom

I have 1 white dogwood tree that was blooming when it was purchased but has not bloomed in the past two years. what am I doing wrong? I live in michigan. Thanks...

Last edited by chester@msu.edu; August 27th, 2005 at 06:29 AM. Reason: correct errors
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  #3  
Old September 30th, 2005, 07:11 AM
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Re: Dogwoods that won't bloom

I also live in Michigan and have a dogwood tree that doesn't bloom. It was planted three years ago and is now about 9 feet tall. The foliage is quite compact but it seems to be thriving and has added new growth. Any tips?
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  #4  
Old September 30th, 2005, 01:55 PM
Ron B Ron B is offline
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Re: Dogwoods that won't bloom

Cold winters killing flower buds? Too much shade? Somebody viewing the specimens in person would likely have a better idea what might be happening.
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Old September 30th, 2005, 02:05 PM
pattykake pattykake is offline
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Re: Dogwoods that won't bloom

I had the same problem with my wisteria vine. after research i discovered plants need phosphorus to encourage bloom and nitrogen for green growth. I purchased a product called superphosphate. I hope this works for you.
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  #6  
Old September 30th, 2005, 08:58 PM
Ron B Ron B is offline
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Re: Dogwoods that won't bloom

DO NOT apply superphosphate without a soil test report in front of you that indicates a need for doing so.

http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~Linda%2.../Phosphate.pdf
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  #7  
Old October 1st, 2005, 09:48 AM
Michael F Michael F is offline
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Re: Dogwoods that won't bloom

I suspect they're simply too young at the moment. The odd few flowers in the first year is a fairly common one-off happening, maybe the nursery treated them in some way, or maybe just the stress of being moved caused them to flower. Now they're settling in and devoting all their energy to producing roots, leaves and branches. Give them a few more years and they should start flowering well.
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Old October 1st, 2005, 11:47 AM
Ron B Ron B is offline
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Re: Dogwoods that won't bloom

Likewise, small camellias may come from nursery loaded with flower buds then grow in garden for years before resuming flowering. Probably just a difference between intensive cultural practices used by grower and more normal conditions of home garden.
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  #9  
Old October 2nd, 2005, 10:07 AM
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mr.shep mr.shep is offline
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Re: Dogwoods that won't bloom

What may apply to some Washington and
other but certainly not all Pacific Northwest
soils does not necessarily apply elsewhere.
There are many soils that are not overly laden
with phosphorous, indeed, there may be more
soils that are closer to being deficient in elemental
phosphorous in the US.

With Dogwoods asking why does my plant not
bloom can better be asked, what prevented my
plant from setting flower buds?

When people asked us the question the old way,
on the phone or in person our first question to
them was what kind of Dogwood is it? Was is
a Cornus florida, Cornus kousa, Cornus kousa
chinensis, Cornus nuttallii, which one? We have
to have a basis, a foundation to start with so we
start with which kind of Dogwood. Then we ask
about cultural techniques used, such as the
watering method, soil type, any soil amendments
used, what kind of fertilizer regimen was used
and which fertilizers were used if any and at what
application rates. We try to learn as much about
the plants setting, how it has been taken care of
the light factors and an overview of the history
of the plant before we can make any qualified
analysis of what is causing the bud set problem.

For several forms of Dogwoods we need to know
of any temperature fluctuations that have occurred
right after bloom as we have found that night time
cooling along with mid day bright sun has a dramatic
impact on whether a Dogwood will set flower buds
for next year or not. Many people tend to over
fertilize Dogwoods but it is their timing of their
application that messes up the plants biological
system to set buds when the fertilizer is making the
plant set out elongated shoots instead. If the shoots
cannot stop growing in a critical one to two month
span about six weeks after the plant has bloomed then
the plant will not set buds.

In cooler climates such as Lake Tahoe and where my
naturalized Dogwoods are at a 5,500 foot elevation
near Yosemite many Dogwoods fail to set buds due
to an imbalance of nutrients in the soil. Herein is why
a bloom fertilizer becomes even more critical for
Dogwoods as Dogwoods require available potassium
and phosphorous to aid in their flower formation.

Yes, in general, most forest type soils may have what
appears from a soil analysis ample phosphorous in the
soil but in what form is that phosphorous in, in other
words is the phosphorous locked up or is the phosphorous
readily available for the plant to utilize. In many cases
in a forest situation the phosphorous is bound up which
the soil test does not tell us. We may have to use a
spectrophotometer and get a read out from it to better
know in what form the current state of phosphorous
is in, in the soil. A soil test will determine the presence
and in some cases depending on the type of test the
concentration of phosphorous but it will not tell us in
what form that phosphorous is in. We need to know
if the nutrient is locked up or not and then how to
unbound it if it is indeed locked up.

Temperature becomes rather important in a cooler
climate as Dogwoods prefer warmth during the
day yet like night time cooling to set buds. Not
much different than many areas are with certain
"Himalayan" forms and "Himalayan hybrids" of
deciduous Magnolias. Many areas of the US have
had almost a constant temperature in recent years
in which the day time temps are real close to being
the same as the night time temps have been. This
is a disaster situation for most Dogwoods to set
flower buds. The tree cannot figure out what it
should do, should it try to grow to sustain itself
or should the Dogwood grow then stop, set buds
and then continue on and grow after the buds have
been set. With an almost constant and really not
a variable temperature difference of day and night
the Dogwood, same as the Magnolia, will want to
grow and not stop and set buds. The plants actually
are too happy with the evenness of the temperatures,
so happy in fact they forget to set flower buds in the
process. I went through this for a number of years
with a pink bordered white Kousa in that when the
plant should have stopped to set flower buds it kept
right on growing even without any Nitrogen applications
in an iron oxide rich gravely soil. This condition for me
was more due to the fact that when the plant should
have stopped to set buds the high temperatures for the
day were only five to seven degrees warmer than the
cooling night time temps were. Not enough of a
fluctuating extreme to force the plant to stop its shoot
initiation and shoot elongation process.

A basic rule of thumb with Dogwoods to keep in mind
when asking for help with no bud set is what are your
day and night time temps? Do you ever give the plant
Nitrogen when it is in bloom or right after it bloomed.
How well did you water in the fertilizer? How much
sunlight does the plant get during an average day as too
much shade will preclude bud set with most but not all
forms of Dogwoods. All of the above is not even taking
into account the soil type, any soil and soil pH issues and
the watering practices.

Jim
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  #10  
Old October 2nd, 2005, 04:12 PM
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Carol Ja Carol Ja is offline
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Re: Dogwoods that won't bloom

Wow Jim!!!
You give great answers.
Carol Ja
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  #11  
Old June 27th, 2009, 06:56 PM
B101 B101 is offline
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Re: Dogwoods that won't bloom

Jim, thanks for your information. I have a similar problem with my Kousa, except it did bloom, beautifully the second year after planting, but this year I only got about 3 blossoms. Here in the Pacific N.W., we usually don't have the problem of warm nights...things generally cool down nicely. Do the buds set in the Fall? If so, that may be it, since we had a warm autumn, up through November, then a very frozen, three-week cold/snow snap. Could that be the problem?
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Old July 1st, 2011, 08:37 AM
MsMuffet MsMuffet is offline
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Re: Dogwoods that won't bloom

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael F View Post
I suspect they're simply too young at the moment. The odd few flowers in the first year is a fairly common one-off happening, maybe the nursery treated them in some way, or maybe just the stress of being moved caused them to flower. Now they're settling in and devoting all their energy to producing roots, leaves and branches. Give them a few more years and they should start flowering well.
Thanks for this information. I have the same concern about the dogwood tree in my yard. I was wondering if this was normal. What you said about them devoting their energy to growing roots seems to make perfect sense. I will just be patient and let them do their thing and see what happens over the next few years. Thank you.
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  #13  
Old June 26th, 2012, 11:01 PM
David Payne Terra Nova David Payne Terra Nova is offline
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Re: Dogwoods that won't bloom

They prefer a lower pH. Say around 5.5
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  #14  
Old November 15th, 2014, 08:52 PM
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Schattenfreude Schattenfreude is offline
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Re: Dogwoods that won't bloom

You might try adding Epsom salts to the ground around your trees before a heavy rain. Or dissolve the salts in a 5-gal. bucket and then water the tree. I can't recall how much salt per gallon of water, but a search should provide you with the right proportion. This technique has helped my dogwood bloom profusely year after year.

Kevin in KC
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