Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

How do I keep my dogwood tree healthy?

Keeping your flowering dogwood tree healthy is your best protection against dogwood anthracnose, a disease which has killed many dogwood trees in the eastern United States. Even though the chances of dogwood anthracnose becoming a serious problem in Missouri are slim, following some basic guidelines will help protect your tree from far more common threats. Recommended maintenance should include the following:

1. Prevent drought stress by mulching around the base of the tree and supply water during drought periods.

2. Each year after leaf drop selective prune to open up the canopy and increase air circulation. Dead limbs and twigs should be removed immediately. Use sharp tools and disinfect your tools in between cuts with a mixture of 1 part chlorox to 9 parts water.

3. Have your soil tested and fertilize as recommended. Over- fertilization will promote disease and insect problems.

4. Work around your trees with care and avoid mechanical injury to the main trunk from garden equipment. Wounds can become entry points for disease organisms. Protect tree root systems from construction injury.

5. Examine your trees regularly and monitor for bark and leaf diseases as well as boring insects. Chemical treatments are rarely required if problems are diagnosed early.

By following these simple guidelines you can better assure that your dogwood will be around for many years to come.