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Trees/Pink Dogwood trees

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Question
I planted 2-4 to 5 ft tall pink dogwood trees about 8 years ago. Sorry to say that 1 of them did not survive. The deer got it. The other 1 is doing well in growth, however it does not bloom as it did when first planted. Infact the past 2 to 3 years it has not bloomed at all.
I have used tree spikes and they seem to help the growth but does nothing for the blooms. What can i do to make this tree bloom again?

Answer
There are many possible reasons for a lack of flowering in plants, including age, light, excess nitrogen, temperature and pruning. Make sure your plant is receiving a half day of sunlight. Fertilizers high in nitrogen, like most turf fertilizers, encourage foliar growth at the expense of flowers, so keep these away from the plant. Only prune just after flowering, or in your case, just after other dogwoods in the area flower, so you don't remove next year's buds. Finally, provide 1 inch of water per week, supplementing rainfall if necessary.

Vigorous growth reduces flower production in dogwood trees. When trees are young and putting on a large amount of new growth each year, flowering can be delayed as the tree's energy goes into development of new branches and leaves. Excess fertilization with high-nitrogen fertilizers, such as turf fertilizers, promotes rapid growth. The more nitrogen a fertilizer has in it the more foliage growth and less flowers.  

The three essential components of fertilizer are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, the N-P-K numbers on any fertilizer. Nitrogen is for healthy green growth by helping the plant to grow chlorophyll. Fertilizers high in nitrogen like 25-10-10, is great for greening up your lawn. Phosphorus helps a plant grow good roots and stems in the early growth season then in flower production. A mix like 10-30-10 is great for flowers on your annuals and perennials. The Potassium (K) helps your plants generate and process nutrients. Other important elements in fertilizers are calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, and sulfur. Organic fertilizers are usually very low in these trace elements.

Tree spikes have a Fertilizer Analysis of 15-10-9. They also tend to burn the roots since the fertilizer is concentrated, A granular or liquid scattered around the tree is better for the roots. You want a fertilizer with a higher amount of phosphorus to encourage flowering. To encourage flower bud production you can apply a fertilizer that contains a small percentage of nitrogen, a higher percentage of phosphorous, and a little potassium. A fertilizer with an analysis of 5-30-5, ideal for flower production. Because the product is sold as a bloom producer, the manufacture also added a little chelated iron, manganese, and zinc, all good for your plants as well. Check with your local garden store for a fertilizer for flowering plants look at the label and the rating numbers. These come in many names both liquid and granular, wither one is fine.,

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Jim Hyland

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I am an expert in Forestry, Forest Entomology, Forest Pest Control, and Forest Health. Extensive knowledge in Identification of insects and diseases of trees. Expert on Bark beetles and other insects that attack forests. Also a Registrated Forester with extensive knowledge in the management and care of forests.

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34 years as State Pest Management Chief in a Southern state. Extensive knowledge in Forestry.

BS with major in Forest Management and Entomology
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