Dogwood Tree Care in the Fall and Winter
Across the country, dogwood trees are one of the most popular types of trees people plant in their yards. One of the reasons for this is that they remain beautiful during all four seasons. They tend to be mostly known for their breathtaking white and pink flowers that bloom during the springtime. However, these trees are also alive and well in the other seasons.
During the fall months, for instance, dogwood trees tend to attract more birds. Some trees have scarlet-red berries that grow on them and ripen. In addition to this, the leaves turn to red or deep crimson-purple. Then in the winter, like all trees, the leaves drop. The beauty of the trees remains, however, as its bark looks scale-like and its horizontal branches look graceful. Some of the berries may stay on the tree for some time during the winter.
These berries tend to attract birds and smaller animals. If you’re looking to have these critters in your yard, a dogwood tree may be the choice for you. Additionally, these berries, once they fall off the tree, can end up growing into other dogwood trees.
Of course, the dogwood tree care routine will change as the colder seasons approach, and we’re not just talking about raking up some leaves. Here are some tips for how to care for your dogwood trees in the fall and winter months.
Spring tends to be the most popular time to plant dogwood trees, but the late fall serves as a good time to plant them as well. This is because the trees become dormant during late fall. It’s important to remember that a newly planted tree will need nourishment and adequate water, so if you do opt to plant in the fall, make sure you provide enough water.
Spring and fall tend to be the most popular times to plant these trees because you want to plant them before the tree begins to bud and flower. Furthermore, if you’re trying to transport a dogwood tree, early spring and fall are the best times to do it because less stress is put on the trees during these times.
All trees need to be pruned, no matter what type of tree they are. However, when it comes to dogwood trees—as with many flowering trees—the best time to prune them is during the late fall or the winter. Why is this? Because the tree is entering dormancy at this time. Pruning them about six weeks before the leaves drop from the tree also tends to be best practice. Furthermore, remember to prune trunk sprouts as well during the fall season.
Please note that if you do end up pruning your trees during late winter, flowering dogwood trees may bleed sap. This is why pruning them before this time is ideal. If you’re not comfortable pruning your dogwood trees yourself, we have an experienced team of arborists at Mr. Tree that can safely and fully prune your trees for you.
Just because it’s no longer as hot outside as it was doesn’t mean you should forget about watering your trees. Dogwood trees need water year-round. You may not need to use as much water as you do during the spring and summer, but you still need to remember to water your trees. This especially rings true more during the fall months. Watering once or twice a week in the fall, ensuring that the root area is thoroughly soaked, will suffice.
Late winter, toward the end of their dormancy, is the best time to fertilize your dogwood trees. Not all dogwood trees will require fertilizer, but if you notice pale or sparse leaves or short twig growth, all of those are signs that fertilization is necessary. Start this fertilization process with two pounds of fertilizer per inch of trunk diameter. Be sure to avoid the trunk of the tree as you scatter the fertilizer over the ground. The best fertilizer to use for dogwood trees is 12-4-8 or 16-4-8.
Checking for Diseases
No one wants a diseased tree in their yard. For one, it doesn’t look great. But disease can also spread to other trees and plants, a hazard for your entire yard. During the fall and winter months is a good time to check for diseases. For instance, a popular type of dogwood tree disease is dogwood anthracnose. This causes leaf spots and stem cankers and kills shoots. You may not notice some of its symptoms at first or not see the scorched tan blotches found on the leaves of your tree. However, an obvious sign is that after the leaves fall during the autumn, blighted leaves will continue to cling to the stems. If you notice this, your tree is likely diseased and should be taken care of immediately.
If you’re concerned about tree diseases, here are the most commonly seen tree diseases in Portland for you to look out for.
Dogwood trees are extremely popular and extremely beautiful to have on your property. If you’re considering planting one, we highly recommend that you do so. Remember that taking care of your trees year-round is important and that your dogwood tree care will tend to change with each change of season. But it’ll be well worth your time to do so.
As the fall and winter seasons come upon us, if you have any concerns about your dogwood tree, Mr. Tree would be happy to come by and take a look at it for you. Please feel free to give us a call so we can come ease any worries you may have. Plus, we can ensure your tree is adequately fertilized, has no diseases, and is growing in good health.