Dying dogwood

Asked August 16, 2015, 10:39 AM EDT

I purchased a flowering dogwood tree from a nursery. They advised me on how to plant it. They told me not to cut the burlap bag from the bottom when planting. After planting it, we had about three weeks of rain. As you can see in the pictures, I think my tree is dying. It started to wilt at first then the leaves turned yellow then red and now are falling off the tree. There are small green ball-like growths on the tree. Our soil is heavy clay and rock. We did add topsoil. Can you tell me what is wrong with my tree and what can I do to save it?

Harford County Maryland dogwoods dogwood dying trees flowering dogwood

2 Responses

Most of Maryland is now in a multi-week drought. New trees (and shrubs and perennials) need supplemental watering for two years after planting when there is not enough rainfall. Plants like about an inch of water a week, but when the soil is parched, a tree this size would need several gallons a week. Plants like soil to be about as moist as a wrung out sponge. Probe the soil around your tree. If it is dry more than about 1/2" below the surface, you need to water. Droughts can occur in spring and fall, too. Be aware of how much rainfall your plants are getting by using a raingauge (a tin can can work). Don't ever let plants go into winter without plenty of moisture around their roots.

Clay takes a while to absorb water because its particles are so tiny. However, once it gets wet, it holds water well.

We do not recommend leaving the burlap around a plant's root ball. If it cannot be removed because the tree is too heavy to pull it out, the burlap should be pushed down to the bottom of the planting hole so that roots can grow sideways unimpeded. Burlap can take years to decompose, and some burlap is actually artificial and never decomposes.

Read over these two factsheets on our website. The first is about how to plant trees: http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG24_Planting_tips_f...

This factsheet explains some other common causes of tree problems: http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG86%20Common%20Abio...

ECN

Most of Maryland is now in a multi-week drought. New trees (and shrubs and perennials) need supplemental watering for two years after planting when there is not enough rainfall. Plants like about an inch of water a week, but when the soil is parched, a tree this size would need several gallons a week. Plants like soil to be about as moist as a wrung out sponge. Probe the soil around your tree. If it is dry more than about 1/2" below the surface, you need to water. Droughts can occur in spring and fall, too. Be aware of how much rainfall your plants are getting by using a raingauge (a tin can can work). Don't ever let plants go into winter without plenty of moisture around their roots.

Clay takes a while to absorb water because its particles are so tiny. However, once it gets wet, it holds water well.

We do not recommend leaving the burlap around a plant's root ball. If it cannot be removed because the tree is too heavy to pull it out, the burlap should be pushed down to the bottom of the planting hole so that roots can grow sideways unimpeded. Burlap can take years to decompose, and some burlap is actually artificial and never decomposes.

Read over these two factsheets on our website. The first is about how to plant trees: http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG24_Planting_tips_f...

This factsheet explains some other common causes of tree problems: http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG86%20Common%20Abio...

ECN