Gibson Priest

Gibson Priest

As I travel around Polk County, I see many dogwoods with lots of problems.

We often get calls and samples of dogwoods in our office with problems. Dogwoods are intended to grow as an under-standing tree. If you notice in the forests, dogwoods are found growing under the canopy of a bigger tree. Plant dogwoods in the shade of larger trees.

String mowers and lawnmowers can damage a dogwood’s bark. The dogwoods water and food transport system are right under the bark. When the homeowner skins the bark off it is like cutting the dogwood’s life line off.

Homeowners complain about the dogwood’s roots being on top of the ground. The wrong thing to do is to cover the dogwood’s roots with soil or cut them off. This will smother or destroy the most important part — a dogwood’s root!

Which brings me to another point. A dogwood that has wilting leaves and is turning gray needs to be watered. Trees, shrubs and lawns prefer to be watered with one inch of water when they dry out.

This should almost never be done more often than once every five to seven days — even during drought. Infrequent deep watering makes the roots grow deep and strong. Healthy roots produce healthy shoots.

Treat your dogwood trees right and you will have many years of trouble-free service.

If you have any questions regarding your dogwood or other tree problems, please contact the extension office at 770-749-2142 or email

For more information and details on upcoming events, check out the Polk County Extension office on Facebook by searching “UGA Extension Polk County.”

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