Dogwoods signal arrival of spring

Courtesy Dogwood blossoms

I think of all the beautiful spring wildflowers, our native dogwood is appreciated and anticipated more than any other.

Rightly so, too. With its pristine white blossoms sprinkled throughout our East Texas woodlands and lawns, the dogwoods literally scream, "Spring!"

Dogwoods (Cornus florida) are beautiful all year long, thus making them perfect additions to our landscape designs. In spring, we get the beautiful snow-white blooms; in fall, beautiful red leaf color; and in winter, shiny red berries to enjoy until the birds devour them. Even the bark and shape of the dogwood tree is lovely. If you have never seen cardinals sitting in a dogwood on a cold winter day eating the red berries, you have missed a beautiful sight.

Everyone in Tyler should plant a dogwood tree or two in his yard. They are easy to grow if you can give them what they need. Dogwoods demand good drainage, sandy loam (not clay), and will grow in sun or a fair amount of shade.

If grown in shade, they will have the asymmetrical shape that makes them so appealing. If grown in sun, they will grow into a rounded shape and have more blooms, but will need extra water. Dogwoods have shallow roots and need to be watered when dry. Drought is responsible for us losing so many of our dogwoods, so keep that in mind when planting. If you have azaleas, you can have dogwoods.

There are two things that will kill dogwoods in fast order — nicking their bark with line trimmers and lawn mowers and fertilizing them with high nitrogen fertilizer. So, when fertilizing your lawn, don't use that fertilizer under your dogwoods. They really do not need any fertilizer other than a good mulch.

I hope you will ride around our beautiful area and enjoy the dogwoods while they are blooming as well as azaleas and other beautiful flowers. Don't put it off, either, because spring is often fleeting here.



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