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Dave: I'm Dave Epstein, this is Growing Wisdom here with my friend Wayne Mezitt. Wayne, we’re looking at a flower of Dogwood, early bloomer of the Dogwoods. This is one of the earliest. Tell us a little bit about the Dogwood?
Wayne: This is a native tree that grows along the east coast. It's really only hardy to about zone five. What looks like the flowers, it's not a flower. It's the covering for the flower. The actual flower is right inside here. You can see the little yellow spots in there, those are the flowers themselves. The covering is the bract that you see that looks like the flower to most people.
Dave: So Wayne, folks may want a pink or a white or even a red blooming Dogwood. They’re really not getting a flower that’s blooming. They’re looking at a pink or red or a white bract.
Wayne: That’s right. Well the native Dogwood is pretty much white although in the wild, sometimes we see light pink ones. What the breeders have done is to select four darker colors. There are some now that are really pretty dark pink. They’ve been out for years and years.
There are also some interesting leaf forms on the native Dogwood. Sometimes they have variegated leaves and sometimes they have a different growth forms. There is a weeping type of cornus florida as well.
Dave: So what about care Wayne in terms of where should they plant them and disease susceptibility of these plants?
Wayne: Dogwoods are sensitive to soil drainage. They need good well-drained soil. They're also subject to a disease called anthracnose which is a fungus that attacks the plants and can really do some serious damage to them.
But, recent years it's been mild enough in the winter time so that the stress is a little bit less on them. We see this sort of recovering.
The most important thing is to choose a healthy plant to begin with. Also, the after care is important. It should be placed some place where it has good soil drainage, good air drainage in other words, so that there is enough air around it and where it's not going to get hit with a lawn mower so at the edge of the woods or an area where it's mulched pretty well because they are also susceptible to damage. When you damage the trunk around them, they take a long time to heal.
Dave: If you had an arboreus look at it, are there any treatments that they can provide?
Wayne: It's always smart to make sure the fertility is right around the plants. You don’t want to over fertilize but you don’t want to starve them either.
Dave: How big do these guys get? You said leave enough room so there is lot of airflow, how big are we talking?
Wayne: As a Dogwood matures, it grows up wide. One of the best features of it is it's horizontal branching. But it's going to get 25 or 30 feet tall in most gardens. If it's in a warmer area, zone six or seven or eight, it's going to get even bigger.
Dave: Wayne, thank you very much. I love the Dogwood. It's a great plant and you should have one in your home if you have the room for it, we appreciate it. come back every week for all of our tips, hints and helps here at Growing Wisdom.