Kanorin's Cornus florida - 5 year native tree challenge

Kanorin

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I found and collected this cool flowering dogwood (Missouri state tree) locally and thought it would be great for this contest. I collected it mid-April and it had a few small leaves already, so probably not ideal. We'll see how it does! Not quite sure what I'm going to eventually keep...probably the part that lives!

IMG-4977.jpg
Bird's eye view of the base
IMG-4976.jpg
 

Gabler

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Supposedly it's pretty humid in Missouri, so you might have a pretty good shot at survival. I've only been in your state for a connecting flight, though, so I can't comment from first-hand experience.
 

Kanorin

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When I collected this, I left 70% of the field soil in with it because I figured it might be too stressful to remove more...now I'm worried that was a bad call.

It's definitely starting to wilt - It's definitely not from lack of water, though. We've had a good amount of rain the past 10 days and I'm wondering if the roots are staying too wet and not getting enough oxygen. I'll post a picture tonight.

I did tilt the anderson flat on a rock to try to help increase drainage...might be a quick exit for this contender!
 

Gabler

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I read somewhere that they often die of shock from root disturbance. In my own experience, it’s virtually impossible to transplant them, even as a landscape tree. No matter how much effort I put into the aftercare from transplanting, they always seem to wither and die. It only works if they’re grown in a pot under nursery conditions and soon permanently planted in the ground as a seedling or tiny sapling. If you cut the roots, they die. I’d imagine a wet, humid greenhouse could make it possible to protect the plants until the roots heal, but I’ve never personally tried it on dogwood. I’ve only just started experimenting using a greenhouse with oak and beech, though with promising results.
 

Forsoothe!

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Ya know, florida are disease-prone and the Korean is much tougher and comparatively bullet-proof. Although, I have collected some volunteers lately that are all doing fine, but were pretty small. However, I have florida, kousa, controversa, and alternafolia in the landscape so who knows what the volunteer's heritage is?
 

Gabler

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Fingers crossed for hybrid vigor.
 

Devdem

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Very dead.
That's very sad! I am currently wanting to make a cutting of a florida dogwood in my yard and attempt a bonsai. Do you think you'll try again?
 

Kanorin

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I'm hoping to take a collecting trip this winter (ideally February) - so if I find another one that strikes me as interesting, I'll give it another shot! I know that some local club members have successfully collected these as well as sugar maples, hop hornbeams, american hornbeams, oaks, prunus, and a couple other natives.

Mid-April was probably a little bit too late - I think if I had gotten this one as buds were swelling or before it would have had a great chance.
 

Devdem

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I'm hoping to take a collecting trip this winter (ideally February) - so if I find another one that strikes me as interesting, I'll give it another shot! I know that some local club members have successfully collected these as well as sugar maples, hop hornbeams, american hornbeams, oaks, prunus, and a couple other natives.

Mid-April was probably a little bit too late - I think if I had gotten this one as buds were swelling or before it would have had a great chance.
I still have a ton more research to do, but I am assuming trying this right now is not suggested? I figure here in VA it shouldn't frost for a while, so I might be able to get a cutting to sprout roots before?

Hope you find some fun new ones!
 

Kanorin

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I still have a ton more research to do, but I am assuming trying this right now is not suggested? I figure here in VA it shouldn't frost for a while, so I might be able to get a cutting to sprout roots before?

Hope you find some fun new ones!
Thanks. I don't know much about cuttings of cornus florida. I had some success rootings cuttings of cornus racemosa (gray dogwood) in early May. So if your cuttings now don't work, I would try again just after the leaves harden off in spring. If it's a yard tree, have you thought about an air layer instead?
 

Devdem

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I have not thought about air layering it, that sort of frightens me for some reason. I'm quite a novice at bonsai and plants in general, and I get the theory of air layering - but I'm not sure I'm confortable enough picking the right spot and size for it.
 

LittleDingus

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I have not thought about air layering it, that sort of frightens me for some reason. I'm quite a novice at bonsai and plants in general, and I get the theory of air layering - but I'm not sure I'm confortable enough picking the right spot and size for it.

The worst case: the layer fails and you end up pruning that branch :)

Pick a branch you would prune anyway...preferably at a point where it's more horizontal or could be bent more horizontal...and there's very little risk. If it fails...you were going to prune it anyway. For an air layer to work, the branch needs to be mature enough that there is cambium and a sapwood layer. If you pick a branch too immature and you find there's uncomfortably little sapwood once the cambium has been removed, finish pruning it and use it as a cutting instead. Still no harm ;)

My approach to learning new skills has typically been to mitigate risk as much as I can. When first starting...take few risks...as you learn more and gain confidence what seemed risky when you were first learning no longer feels risky! Even when I'm risky with the material...it's generally material I have back ups of or never cared about to begin with: so still, the risk is mitigated...if it fails I wasn't attached! You don't need to try for that very-cool-must-turn-into-bonsai branch first. If you can leave it...leave it and try something "safer". If you can't leave it...take the risk...you couldn't leave it anyway...
 

Devdem

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The worst case: the layer fails and you end up pruning that branch :)

Pick a branch you would prune anyway...preferably at a point where it's more horizontal or could be bent more horizontal...and there's very little risk. If it fails...you were going to prune it anyway. For an air layer to work, the branch needs to be mature enough that there is cambium and a sapwood layer. If you pick a branch too immature and you find there's uncomfortably little sapwood once the cambium has been removed, finish pruning it and use it as a cutting instead. Still no harm ;)

My approach to learning new skills has typically been to mitigate risk as much as I can. When first starting...take few risks...as you learn more and gain confidence what seemed risky when you were first learning no longer feels risky! Even when I'm risky with the material...it's generally material I have back ups of or never cared about to begin with: so still, the risk is mitigated...if it fails I wasn't attached! You don't need to try for that very-cool-must-turn-into-bonsai branch first. If you can leave it...leave it and try something "safer". If you can't leave it...take the risk...you couldn't leave it anyway...

That makes so much sense and I didn't think that, if I messed up somehow I could just prune anyway. Hah. Thanks very much! I too try to take the fewest risks at first, and this is my first step into dogwood so I was trying to do that here, but this is just a no brainer. I originally wanted a smaller bonsai, and I though the air layer needed to a relatively large/long branch - like you said at least a well-established one. I'll just play and learn along the way how to trim it down if needed!
 
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