Pink Dogwood not Blooming

Asked April 29, 2013, 4:27 PM EDT

Hi there- A couple of years ago, I planted a pink dogwood in my front yard. We have lived in this house 3 years and the house is about 25 years old. The new dogwood has been there now for two consecutive springs and looks healthy, but has never bloomed (it was in bloom when we purchased it, though). It's a young tree; the trunk is just a couple of inches (ish). It is planted at the edge of a grove of larger trees and gets sun in the afternoon, but not the entire afternoon. I would think the sun/shade location is perfect for a dogwood. All of my soil is terrific. There is an older (white) dogwood tree on the property that bloomed beautifully our first spring here, fairly well the 2nd, and is barely blooming at all this year. I suspect the culprit is lawn fertilizer/treatment (too much nitrogen?) because the former owners of the house didn't put anything on the lawn (it was full of weeds), whereas we have a service that applies weed killer/fertilizer 3-4 times a year. If this is the problem, I can ask the lawn service to refrain from spraying around the base of the dogwoods (and any other flowering trees? although they don't seem affected), but is there something I can do in conjunction with that to hedge my bets? For example, is there anything I can add to their soil to counteract excess nitrogen? Thanks! I appreciate your advice.

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

Your pink dogwood may not be blooming for a number of reasons. There is a good possibility that your trees are receiving too much nitrogen fertilizer as you mentioned but there is nothing you can add to the soil to counteract that. The roots of the trees are spread beyond the canopy of the trees so telling the people from you lawn service not to spray around the base of the trees will not make that much of a difference.
In general dogwoods do not produce the same amount of beautiful blooms each season. Definitely some years they bloom better than others. In my travels I have noticed that the white dogwoods did not bloom very well this spring. There are some exceptions to that but I did make that observation. The pink dogwood may not be mature enough to produce blooms. Young trees spend a few years establishing their root system before devoting energy to flowering.
Remember the buds for flowering are set in the previous growing season. So if we have a very hot, dry summer you should give them supplemental water even into the fall.In general the trees should receive about an inch of water per week.
Sometimes flower buds get injured by the frost, that probably was not the case this season but that is something to keep in mind.
dr