Can I bring Lazarus back to life?

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KLB41
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My Lazarus Dogwood

First off let me tell you that I'm a very inexperienced gardener. Please forgive my ignorance.

I have a red flowering dogwood that I bought and planted last year in my back yard. It was in the shade of other larger trees. I'm not sure now what kind of soil I planted it in but I am 100% sure it didn't get enough water. I totally neglected this poor tree an when I did water it I'm sure I didn't water it down to the roots many times. Last summer in Central Arkansas was insanely hot and dry.

Anyway... I have moved and decided to transplant and try to resurrect my nearly dead dogwood. It is very small. No more than an inch in diameter and maybe 3 feet tall. I pruned all the branches back because they sent look like they could survive. There is green under the bark of the trunk. The root ball is small and parts of it are dried out.

So when I transplanted it I put it in tree and shrub soil and added some sphagnum peat moss. I have been slow watering it... Turning the hose on at a trickle and letting it run for an hour or two. I've been doing this 3-4 times a week. My husband watered it with some kind of fertilizer once but I'm not sure what it was.

The "tree" looks pitiful. More like a twig than a tree. I need help. I know what I did wrong to get it in this condition. I need to know if there is even hope for my tree and if so, what else do I need to do?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Keri the dogwood killer :(

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rainbowgardener
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Re: My Lazarus Dogwood

Especially without seeing a picture, I can't even guess whether your little dogwood is going to make it or not.

There is only a little bit you can do other than just waiting to see what happens.

Trickle watering is good, but an hour may not be enough. And if you are deep watering, then you don't want to do it 3-4 times a week. You don't want to go from under watering to over watering. Run your hose for a couple hours and then dig down with a trowel and see how deep the soil is wet. You want it to be well moistened at least a foot deep. That may take slow watering (moving the hose around the tree occasionally) for 24 hrs. If you do that, then you would only have to do it once a week (ish, depending on soil, climate, etc), less if it rains.

Do not fertilize it, unless/ until it starts putting out some good leafy growth. Right now you just want it to get a good root system established.
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KLB41
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Re: My Lazarus Dogwood

Oh wow. 24 hrs? I had no idea. I told you I don't know what I'm doing.

Thanks so much for the advice. I'll start doing that soon. And about the picture... I'm too embarrassed to show it to anyone. It's pitiful.

-K

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applestar
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Re: My Lazarus Dogwood

If you haven't done so, make a raised ring of soil around the tree, about 18" in diameter. This way water won't flow away and get wasted, and you know that the tester trickling out of the hose is staying to water the roots of the tree.

When watering at once, you want to fill this "well" to about two inches deep and let that soak in, then repeat two more times.

When I plant young trees, I water thoroughly as rainbowgardener said, then come back and water thoroughly again the next day (unless the soil is still very moist, then I'll do it the next day), then water thoroughly again after three days, then mid week, and then once a week for a month, then once every two weeks, then once a month.... All depending on natural rainfall and heat/drought conditions.

Assuming this is a flowering dogwood, they don't like clay soil and needs good drainage or they get root rot. So the well is only for the initial watering and should be dismantled later on. Around here, you have to plant them on a mound higher than the rest due to heavy clay subsoil. I'm thinking dappled shade or morning sun afternoon shade is find for them since they are understory trees.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: My Lazarus Dogwood

And the 24 hrs depends on what you find when you do the test and dig down in a couple spots after the hose has run a couple hours. But I think you will be surprised how shallow the wet soil is at that point.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

KLB41
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Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 12:21 pm

Re: My Lazarus Dogwood

Thank you for your replies! I'm trying everything you recommended. Now time will tell. My husband is making fun of me for even trying to save it. :(

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