tree help

Asked March 8, 2016, 10:04 AM EST

G'Mornin-I have a 2 year old white dogwood tree that I almost lost last summer due to the intense sun it received since the other tree had to be cut down [which I did not plant in the same place but approx 3 feet from the location of the very old silver maple]. Someone recommended that I pour a bottle of Miracle Grow around the trunk of my new dogwood in very late winter/early spring & leave it alone. Is this right? The tree started out fine last year [pix] after surviving the horrible winters of 2013 and 2014, but then the weather got really hot in the summer & I was getting up at dawn to water the tree just around the trunk & roots-not the branches & leaves; however the leaves then started dying w/great speed. I bought a tube [pix] but had to put water in it most nights plus watering around the mulched ground around it. The tree survived but just barely. I don't want to lose this tree but sure need some guidance re what I should do to prepare it for the expected hot upcoming summer, correct watering techniques, etc. The store did not have any Miracle Grow that seemed appropriate so I bought Vigoro [tree, shrub & evergreen fertilizer]. Before I put that in the dirt around the tree, what do you recommend? Please reply with specific advice cause I need help. Many thanks and pixs are attached fyi. Thank you.

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

Sounds like you are over managing your tree. The mulch looks thick. Make sure it is no thicker than several inches and keep away from the base of the trunk. Mulch piled around the trunk can encourage bark decay. Check inside the tube and remove mulch away from the trunk. The tube can help to discourage deer rubbing or vole damage if you have deer in the area.

Watering - Dogwood is an understory tree and grows best in partial shade. In full sun it will require additional moisture during dry periods. Check soil moisture of newly planted trees and shrubs at least once a week especially during dry periods in the summer. Soil that is moist or damp to the touch is fine. You may need to move the mulch aside and probe with a screwdriver. If the soil begins to dry out, water the plant thoroughly. Do not overwater; however, you can easily drown newly planted trees and shrubs through too much tender loving care with the hose. Water around the base of the tree not the foliage. You do not have to water inside the black hose.

Fertilizer - Newly planted trees do not benefit from fertilizer. During the establishment period (up to two years) root growth is more important than top growth. Mature trees also do not need fertilizer because as trees age and mature the growth process slows down. In the landscape, woody plants receive nutrients from lawn fertilizer if their roots are adjacent to or growing in turf areas. And nutrients are provided by decomposing organic matter such as fallen leaves, decaying mulch, and minerals in the soil.
See our website for more information on Planting trees and shrubs and after care mh