Leaves of Kousa "Summer Fun" Dogwood Tree

Asked September 22, 2018, 12:27 PM EDT

Hello, In early May this year, we planted a Kousa "Summer Fun" dogwood tree in a burm that had a mixture of peat moss, top soil, and MYKE tree and shrub root simulator. We thought that we'd been providing adequate water and the tree is planted with hydrangeas that are being fed with Hollytone. Based on the pictures provided with this email, I am wondering if I could get some guidance about how to help my poor tree. In the past couple of weeks, it has produced little berries. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thank you for your time! Kim S. Oakland County

Oakland County Michigan trees and shrubs sustainable gardening and landscaping gardening

3 Responses

Hello I need to know a little more about your tree. Is the berm in the sun or shade. Can you send me a photo of the entire tree including where the trunk is in the soil—perhaps it is planted too deep. Also, how much fertilizer ate you putting on the hydra rangers and how often. Did you get amsoil test before planting? Look forward to your response.

Hello Susan,

Thanks for your response. Here are two pictures of the dogwood in its entirety. The berm is in shade in the morning and full sun in the afternoon, then shade in the evening. In terms of the fertilizer, I sort of randomly sprinkle it in the area around each hydrangea and the dogwood and I do not measure it. We did not do a soil test, but the native soil is mostly clay. We broke up the clay in the area that the tree was going to be planted. When we made the berm and dug the hole for the tree, we'd ordered topsoil and added peat moss that we'd moistened really well, and then mixed that with the top soil. The hole was double the size of the root ball and as wide as we made the hole, we made the depth the same proportion. The top of the root ball was kept at the top of the berm when we planted it.

I was initially concerned that it wasn't getting enough water, but maybe because of the clay in the native soil, it is holding too much water. I appreciate your help on this!


Thank you for the pictures of the tree. Summer Sun dogwood grows best in full sun to part shade, slightly acidic moist soil. It looks to me like your tree was grafted and when planted, you kept the graft 2-3 inches above the soil line as suggested. Trees should not be planted too deep.
I believe your tree was affected by the drought conditions in June which caused it to shoot up long branches with a few leaves on the end. These conditions stressed the tree, causing the pinkish/brown color on many leaves. The tree seems to have recovered since that time.
I suggest that you ensure that it receives ample water during the fall -- an inch a week. Stop fertilizing it as the tree prepares itself for winter dormancy. It is good that you mulched the bed. A depth of 3 inches is adequate. Also, the mulch is quite close to the trunk and should be pulled back about 6 inches. If mulch is against the tree, it will rot the trunk.
I also encourage you to obtain a soil test at:
It is not really useful to spread fertilizer when you don't know what type the soil is or the minerals and nutrients available.
If you have more questions, you could consult a certified arborist. Go to the professional arborist website at: treesaregood.com to find a certified arborist in your area.
Good luck with your tree.