I have two dogwoods that I planted about five years ago.
Every year, the trees grow larger and seem quite healthy but for some reason the "flowers" arrive after the leaves, and this is much later than any of the trees in the area.
There are several other homes on our street with dogwoods that are in full bloom in April, while mine had only buds. The flowers on my trees appeared in May, again after the leaves.
What am I doing wrong?
Mike Rodgers, Sacramento
You are not doing anything wrong, according to UC Master Gardener Carol Hunter. Not all dogwoods bloom at the same time.
The Sunset Western Garden Book provides the names and physical characteristics of at least 20 varieties of dogwood, which is native to Japan and Korea.
There are numerous species of dogwoods that grow well in the Central Valley and foothills. The most common early-blooming species in our zone is the Cornus florida, which has four rounded white or pink bracts surrounding the central flower.
There is a later blooming species, Cornus kousa, that blooms in late spring or early summer. The flower on the Kousa dogwood has pointed bracts.
You supplied the master gardeners with a photo of your late-blooming tree, showing a dogwood flower with rounded bracts. Possibly you have a Stellar dogwood, which is a hybrid between the Cornus florida and the Cornus kousa. That cultivar flowers in early May when the blooms appear along with the leaves.
Your trees are normal and there is nothing you can do to change them. Just be happy when they do bloom. If you purchase a different variety, be sure to ask when it flowers.
Questions are answered by master gardeners at the UC Cooperative Extension services in Sacramento and Placer counties.
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