We purchased a "new to us" home that is about 30 years old. We live in Pinehurst NC where longleaf pines are frequently underplanted with flowering trees (pear, cherry, dogwood, etc). We have three dogwoods on the property, all of which are overshaded by 60-70' tall longleaf pines. It's possible that the dogwoods are older than 30 years.....the longleaf pines certainly are. Anyway.....compared to many of our neighbors, all of whom have similar growing conditions (partial shade, longleaf pine-straw mulch, no fertilizer, ever), our trees produce a relatively skimpy display of flowers and look sort of scraggly. There's a tree up the street that I'm positive was used on the Wikipedia page for Dogwood. It is truly spectacular. Should I be fertilizing them with a low nitrogen / high phosphorus fertilizer, or are we pretty much stuck with what we have, given their age? If I should be fertilizing, do I just apply it around the drip edge of the tree? Note: We have a rather large rhododendron near two of the trees, so I'm sure the roots are all growing together. I assume the fertilizer for one is good for the other as well? Thanks, Mike
Lackluster Dogwood Blooms
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
It is very likely that they are being choked out by everything around it. The pines, especially, can be very toxic to other trees and plants around. They drop needles, which creates an unsuitable condition for much anything else to grow.
It will likely be a losing battle from here on out, but until they give up, you can give them proper care to prolong the outcome. This article will give you more information on the care of these: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/trees/dogwood/fertilizing-dogwood-trees.htm