Posted by Landscaping Ideas on 19th January 2012
Flowering dogwood trees are currently extremely popular for landscaping and probably more popular than any other species of tree at the moment. Its botanical name is cornus florida and it is the state flower, not of Florida, but of Virginia and the provincial flower of British Columbia. It is a very hard wood, used for loom shuttles, tool handles and skewers in days gone by. In fact ‘dogwood’ is a corruption of its original name, ‘dagwood’, or daggerwood, pertaining to its use for making wooden daggers.
If you are considering dogwood trees for your garden, please keep in mind that they like shade: they just love being cool! Little wonder they are so hot, then! This does not create too many problems for most gardeners, since they all seem to have a problem finding flowering plants that thrive in the shaded areas of their garden. Dogwood trees are ideal. They are in the same league as hemlock for shade, though not, perhaps, for witches! So, if you have a shady area in your garden, possibly caused by the overhanging leaves of other trees, dogwood trees will love it.
Incidentally, a good planting tip if you are considering dogwood trees is to make sure you plant the root ball proud. That means do not bury it, but plant it in a hole just slightly short of the diameter of the root ball. Make sure the bottom of the hole is not too loose so that the root ball does not settle too much after planting.
Another tip when buying root-balled dogwood trees is to make sure they are containerized or burlapped when you buy them. This makes sure that the root ball does not dry out, and you will also find it a lot easier to plant. Burlapping is simply a protective covering over the root ball – sometimes of organic origin, but increasingly of plastic.
Many instruction booklets advise you to just to bury the burlap with the root, but do not do this with plastic or you could deform the roots as they try to burst through the plastic. Plastic burlap on the roots of dogwood trees must be removed – if in doubt try a match on it. If it melts like plastic, remove it. If you do not do this, the roots will either try to burst through the plastic, or become deformed as they work their way round it.
Once planted and established, dogwood trees give wonderful spring displays of lovely white flowers, and variegated leaves in the fall. They love growing under a canopy of larger trees, but are very sensitive trees. They are easily damaged by lawnmowers and need a rich well fertilized soil. However, if you look after them, dogwood trees will reward you well. Birds love them, and you could do worse than fix one or two bird boxes round their branches. If you are landscaping your garden, plant one or two dogwood trees in any shaded areas you have and they will reward you with their beautiful flowers, leaves and the wildlife they attract to your garden.