Friday, May 01, 2009

Dogwoods in the spring

Flowering dogwood has now started its annual blooming, a process that tends to last at least a little longer than the glorious burst of color that appears during the leafing of the redbud trees. Unfortunately, this year the dogwood flowering appears less abundant than usual, while the redbuds are spectacular. It looks like redbud soup right now.

Perhaps the redbuds simply got pushed to bud all at once by the heat earlier this week. Dogwoods have always had a somewhat variable level of flowering, with some years naturally better than others. With this spring so dry here, that may be a reason for it. The reason may also be the "dogwood disease," a fungus really, that has caused the deaths of many of the trees throughout the east and the rest of the nation.

The dogwood fungus first appears as brownish spots on the leaves, usually seen in late May or early June. The fungus eventually affects the tree’s stems and branches, killing them over time. Trees can take up to three years to die.

Last year around Roundtop, I didn’t see any trees that appeared to be affected with the spots, though I confess I did not examine every tree I could find. I am hoping that this year’s diminished flowering is simply due to the dry spring.

Spring here wouldn’t be spring without dogwood.

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