We also have nearly 100 youth participate in the annual livestock-judging contest. A lot of dedicated staff, volunteers and supporters helped pull this event off. Parents, soon our 4-H staff will be visiting the area elementary and middle schools to get youth signed up for 4-H this school year.
I know you see all of our livestock project successes in the paper, but 4-H is so much more. Give our staff a call and see where your child can benefit by participating in Gordon 4-H. We have no membership dues, offer a lot of fun and a lot of education.
Today, I would like to visit on dogwood trees. I will be sharing information with use of a UGA publication by Dr. Gary Wade, UGA Extension Horticulturist. Why do I like dogwoods? Well first they are native to the Southeast so you can see them throughout Georgia. Second, they add so much to the area when the bracts are in color.
You may ask will what is a bract? Bracts are actually modified leaves and actually are the showy part of a dogwood flower. With dogwoods being a native item of our area, it can have a place in the landscape if you prepare properly.
I think two big keys to dogwood success is proper planting site and planting at the proper time of year. Let’s start with planting time first. You will properly find B &B dogwood trees on the market.
B & B stands for balled and burlapped. B & B and also bareroot dogwood trees need to be planted when they are dormant between the months of November to March. Time to plant those type trees will be here soon.
You can plant the container grown dogwoods any time of year, but you will need to be prepared to water if planted in more stressful times of year.
Poor planting site selection is normally the downfall of many dogwoods. Dogwoods are understory trees. Where do you see dogwood trees doing the best? You see them do better when they are planted around larger pine or hardwood trees.
These larger trees will provide needed shade. I feel sorry for the dogwoods that are planted in hot, full sun exposure. The tree may get established and make it for years, but it just never does well.
On the other hand, do not plant them in a dense shade area either. Those trees will never flower as well as the trees in moderate shade. Dogwoods are like most items, they prefer soil that drains well and ground that is fertile and high in organic matter.
According to Wade, improper soil preparation at planting can cause tree establishment issues and slow growth of the dogwood. Research shows that good growth is seen when a large and wide planting hole is dug and the backfill soil is well worked too. When planting the tree, make sure the root ball is level with the soil surface. You then backfill with the same soil removed from the planting hole.
This soil should have clods broken apart and the rock and other unwanted items removed. It is suggested to place organic material as mulch on top of the ground instead of in the planting hole itself.
If you live in an area with a lot of compacted soils, a large planting hole with loose backfill soil is key to establishment.
How you water the first two growing seasons is another key to dogwood success or failure. When the weather is dry, you may need to water 1-2 times per week. If you water more they that you may be overwatering which can cause root rots. You can water in dry fall months if needed. Mulching can solve a lot of problems.
Most roots will be in the top 12 inches of soil and can extend several feet out from the tree canopy. Mulching with either leaves, pine straw or bark to a depth of 3-4 inches can help.
You can mulch a wide area under the tree. Mulching can help keep the moisture level even and can protect the tree roots from the extremes of summer and winter.
For more information contact Gordon County Extension at 706-629-8685 or email email@example.com.