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Dogwood Trees

Q.Cornus controversa ‘Variegata’ (Wedding Cake Tree)

Zone Centre of large flat lawn, facing all aspects. Oxted, Surrey. | richardetaylor added on May 8, 2014 | Answered

Our Cornus has grown to 4 metres tall from 1 metre in about 5 years. It is a perfect layered shape and is positioned in the centre of a large lawn with full sun. It has no competition from other trees or shrubs. Every year we have enjoyed a prolific show of flowers, but this year nothing! We feed it every year in the spring and this year it has enjoyed another year of strong growth with full foliage with no die-back but, alas, no flowers. Other Wedding Cake trees in our area have enjoyed their normal spectacular flower show. Can you advise why no flowers this year?

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on May 10, 2014

If you are seeing lush growth, I would say that the culprit might be too much nitrogen in the soil. Excess nitrogen inhibits flowering. Is this tree closer to your lawn than the others? And do you fertilize your lawn? Lawn fertilizer contains high amounts of nitrogen and can cause flowering trees to stop flowering.

Less likely but still possible is that this tree is in a different microclimate than the others. Parts of a garden can develop microclimates that keep a small area warmer or cooler than the rest of the garden. This tree may be in a small area that is just a bit cooler than the rest, and suffered cold damage while the rest of the garden was fine. This article has more information on microclimates:

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