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Cornus slow to grow

IN early spring I planted a 2m-tall Cornus controversa in a sunny position with good potting mix and some general fertiliser. I watered it regularly, but it is very slow to leaf out. Many of the leaves look wilted and there seems to be dieback of some branches. What have I done wrong?


WITHOUT actually seeing the tree it is hard to tell what the problem is, but it sounds as if the root system may have dried out at some point and there is root damage which, during the stresses of summer, is likely to take some time to improve.

Keep watering regularly - at least 3-4 times a week give it a bucketful of water. Mulch over the roots with compost, bark or the likes to retain moisture. Don't give it any more fertiliser as too much around planting time can sometimes do more harm than good. It's better to leave fertilising until there are obvious signs the tree is happy in its new spot and starting to put on healthy new growth.

You may not see a lot of improvement for some time, but with a bit of luck it will survive this summer and during autumn and winter put on new root growth which will stand it in good stead for a healthy start next spring.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 189, 2005, Page 24

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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Last updated: September 29, 2006