The overwatered dogwood tree may suffer from root rot, which also causes the leaves of the plant to change from green to yellow or brown. If the root rot is not attended to earlier, the dogwood tree might die.
Well, there is a lot that you can do to prevent cases of overwatering on your dogwood trees, or even reverse the situation if it has already happened. This article is a comprehensive guide that enlightens you on strategies for saving your plant from overwatering.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- Why Am I Dealing With an Overwatered Dogwood Tree?
- How Do You Help Your Plant to Recover?
Why Am I Dealing With an Overwatered Dogwood Tree?
You might be dealing with an overwatered dogwood tree because of watering your plant too frequently, ignoring changes in environmental conditions, using water for controlling pests, growing your plant in the wrong growth medium, and poor draining abilities by the pot.
– Watering Too Frequently
Just like any other plant, the dogwood tree has specific water needs that you should adhere to as much as possible. When the plant receives more water more often than is necessary, overwatering is more likely to take place.
Although there are recommended frequencies for watering your plant, you might also need to determine if the dogwood tree needs a drink or not. For example, when the soil around the plant is dry, then watering the plant again is less likely to cause overwatering. Avoid watering soils that are too wet already, otherwise, your plant will sit in water. In general, there are certain rules on how to water your plants during hot or cold days.
If you see your plant wilting, do not always assume that it’s because it is lacking water. The dogwood tree can also show signs of wilting when it is grown in waterlogged conditions for prolonged periods. Under such circumstances, the roots of the plant may become damaged beyond repair. This could cause wilting because the roots won’t be able to take up water and nutrients to nourish their foliage.
– Ignoring Environmental Changes
One of the main factors that determine the frequency at which you should water your plant is changes in environmental conditions. When the weather is hotter, the soil of your plant dries at a relatively faster rate than when it’s cold.
This is partly explained by the fact that when it’s hotter, temperatures are higher, and so transpiration and evaporation take place faster. Transpiration describes the process whereby water is lost via your plant’s foliage while during evaporation, the soil is the one that releases water into the atmosphere.
Faster rates of transpiration and evaporation cause the potting soil to dry more quickly. When plants transpire, the amount of water that is released into the atmosphere is the same as what is absorbed from the soil through the plant’s roots. Generally, higher atmospheric temperatures call for more frequent watering. However, when you use the same watering frequency in conditions where the temperatures are lower, the probability that your plant will sit in water is quite high.
The idea of changes in environmental conditions also applies to changes in seasons. Water loss through soil and plant leaves is higher in summer when the temperatures are higher and the plant is in an active growth mode.
In winter, the temperatures are relatively lower and your dogwood tree enters into a dormant mode. Therefore, you don’t water your plant the same way in summer and winter. If you do so, you might give your plant more water than it needs during the winter and this leads to overwatering.
– Using Water to Control Pests
The pests that mainly affect the dogwood tree are scales, dogwood borer, and in some cases, mealybugs. When you are dealing with mealybugs, you might consider using a hose to wash the pests off using a strong stream of water. This is especially true when the infestation is still low.
While hosing pests off is an effective and recommended method, it can cause cases of overwatering on your plants. The pest control procedure could represent a standalone watering session, especially if administered on a day that is not designated for watering your plant.
When you then water your dogwood tree, it will appear as if you have given the plant a drink more often than you should. Besides, the plant’s soil might still be wet from the water that it received during the hosing procedure.
– Using the Wrong Potting Soil
Your dogwood tree is more likely to thrive well if you grow it in fertile soils that are well-draining and slightly water-retaining, too. Good soil drainage also comes in handy in reducing the chances of overwatering. The soil requirements of the dogwood tree imply that you should not predominantly use clay.
The texture and structure of clay curbs the ability of water to flow through the soil. Soil texture refers to the size of the soil particles, while structure describes their arrangement. As for clay, its particles are too small and they are closely packed, which makes this type of soil highly compacted. Such compacted soils disrupt aeration, as well as the movement of water and nutrients, further leading to leaves turning yellow.
Using soils that are compacted may lead to waterlogged conditions as the water cannot flow out of the pot. Sometimes, you might use well-draining soil but it can get compacted over time as you keep watering it. That is why it is important to constantly loosen the soil around your dogwood tree.
– Using the Wrong Pot
If you are growing your dogwood tree in a pot, you should make sure that it has good drainage capacity. The pot should have enough drainage holes of the right size. If the pot does not have a good number of drainage holes, water won’t be able to escape the pot upon watering. The same applies when the holes are too small.
When water fails to leave the pot, it will accumulate and create waterlogged conditions. The water will fill in the air spaces, thereby making it difficult for the roots to breathe and have access to oxygen. As a result, the roots also cannot supply other parts of the plant with the oxygen that they need. You might see leaves turning yellow due to nutrient deficiency.
The size of the pot should also match that of your plant. Using a pot that is too big can promote overwatering. This is because the pot will hold more water versus the capacity of the plant to absorb it. If this happens when the temperatures are lower, the dogwood tree will have no option but to sit in water.
How Do You Help Your Plant to Recover?
You can help your plant to recover by watering the plant properly, ensuring proper drainage, using a well-draining solid, being more careful with pest-control and practicing normal care. Truth be told一an overwatered dogwood tree is on its way to death if nothing is done quickly.
– Water the Plant Properly
The dogwood tree is a moisture lover but it cannot survive in soggy soils. Therefore, your watering frequency should allow the soil to breathe before you can give your plant another drink. There are many other factors that determine how many times you should water your plant. For example, newly planted dogwood trees should be watered at least once a week until their rooting system is well established.
In summer or fall, the dogwood tree needs water supplementation for it to do well. The best way to get this done is by watering your plant once or twice every week. Be sure to reduce this watering frequency in winter when your plant is not actively growing. Besides, the temperatures are too low to aid remarkable levels of evaporation and transpiration in this season.
Each time you give your dogwood tree a drink, be sure to avoid direct contact between the plant’s foliage and the water. Failure to do so will expose your dogwood tree to fungal infections that cause powdery mildew. Also, water the plant thoroughly, making sure that any excess water drains off the region that surrounds your plant’s roots.
– Ensure Proper Drainage
Are you growing your dogwood tree in a pot? If yes, we recommend that you ensure that the pot is furnished with enough drainage holes of the right size. If your pot has few drainage holes, you can consider creating more to ensure that excess water properly drains out. The same applies if the size of the drainage holes is too smallㅡ you can widen them a little more.
When you increase the size of your pot’s drainage holes, just make sure they don’t get too big. Otherwise, some of the potting soil will also go out when you water the plant.
It is also important to keep checking if the drainage holes are not blocked by soil particles over time. If this happens and you do not notice, the draining capacity of the pot will be compromised. Whenever you notice that some of the holes are clogged with soil particles, use a toothpick or chopstick to open them up.
– Use a Well-draining Soil
Ideally, dogwood trees grow well in soils that are well-drawing, slightly water-retaining, and highly fertile. Such soils help the roots of the plant to breathe well and gain access to vital nutrients. The soil pH for your plant should be around 5.5. To 7.0.
You can create a good growing medium for your plant by mixing normal soil with garden compost. You can replace the garden compost with peat moss, as long as you can get granular peat or baled sphagnum. Such soil keeps the moisture that your plant needs but allows any excess to leave the vicinity of its roots. Please note that you can play around with the following components to create good soil for your dogwood tree: manure, compost, peat moss, lime, and sand.
Avoid clay and silt soils in your plant’s growing medium because they stick together when they are watered, thereby making it difficult for your plant to breathe. Loamy soils are better as they are quite loose and rich. Sandy soils are too loose to the extent that they can’t retain any moisture for your plant to use. Moreover, this type of soil is highly supportive of leaching, whereby nutrients are washed away so they become out of reach for your dogwood tree’s roots.
– Be More Careful With Pest Control Methods
Wet pest control methods such as hosing your plant are quite effective. However, they may worsen overwatering cases if you don’t strategize well. You could opt to go for other pest control methods that are relatively drier than the hosing ones. For example, Neem oil and insecticidal soap work quite well, too.
If you still want to stick to the hosing method, you can consider combining the pest control session with the watering one. This way, the pest control procedure will not count as a watering session that is separate from the actual one so chances of overwatering are lower. Another effective tip that works if you are growing your plant in a pot is to cover the surface of the pot with plastic. If you do this, the water that you use to wash the pests off will not go into your plant’s potting soil.
Better still, just do everything in your power to protect your plant from pest attacks. You can do this by doing routine checks for pests so that you can identify any possible attack at an earlier stage.
– Practice Normal Proper Care
Your plant’s ability to properly use water depends on its overall health. This is why the general care procedures that you put in place for your plant really matter. For example, do not expose your dogwood tree to excessive sunlight as doing so will lead to leaf scorch. If you see your dogwood tree’s leaves curling, they would be trying to protect themselves from too much heat.
Once you notice the leaves turning yellow, it could be a sign of a dying dogwood, mainly due to root rot. If you treat the root rot earlier, you could save your plant. You could consider removing the damaged roots, spraying a fungicide on the roots, and then repotting the plant in new potting soil. If the extent of the root rot is severe, you can go for propagation using the healthier parts of the dying dogwood tree.
Check other growth requirements such as sunlight, temperature, and humidity, and be sure to provide your dogwood tree with optimal conditions.
If you are growing a flowering dogwood tree, you certainly don’t want to see your plant suffer from the devastating effects of overwatering.
Here is a quick recap of what you need to know to protect and save your plant:
- Care discrepancies that are associated with watering and soil provisions contribute much to overwatering cases of the dogwood tree.
- You can prevent overwatering your plant by following all the recommended care procedures for the plant.
- Recovering your plant after overwatering is also possible if you follow recommended watering schedules, consider changes in environmental conditions, and provide well-draining soils.
With everything that you learned from this article, you are now well-equipped to be your plant’s superhero and save it. Happy dogwood tree parenting!
- Willard T. Witte, Mark T. Windham, Alan S. Windham, Frank A. Hale, Donna C. Fare and Wayne K. Clatterbuck. Dogwoods for American Gardens. Agricultural Extension Service The University of Tennessee.
Retrieved from https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/documents/PB1670.pdf
- VISUAL GUIDES. Missouri Botanical Garden.
Retrieved from https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/help-for-the-home-gardener/advice-tips-resources/visual-guides/flowering-dogwood-problems.aspx
- Jack Eden. (March 23, 1991). TIPS ON KEEPING YOUR DOGWOODS HEALTHY. Washington Post.
Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/realestate/1991/03/23/tips-on-keeping-your-dogwoods-healthy/9f22f83e-0697-43bf-9865-a74321658d37/