Posted by: Small House Under a Big Sky Homestead | May 5, 2013

Planting a Native Dogwood

We bought a tree yesterday.

white flowering dogwood

This is an image I took off the Internet to show you the beauty of a mature Dogwood.

Today we removed our dead flowering cherry. This tree died from too much water during the the five-year flooding. In its place we planted a small, native white, flowering Dogwood. We selected this species because of it lovely spring flowers and red berries in the fall that the birds love to eat. Also, I learned long ago that it is best to plant native species here. This tree will bloom with lovely white flowers in the spring and shiny red fruits in the fall.

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Here comes the tree!

This is a bird lovers tree. The flowering dogwood is a good choice to entice wildlife and birds to the yard. That’s a good thing because we planted it in the bird feeding bed!

After the fruits start ripening, they won’t last long on the tree. Birds will devour them as fast as they possibly can. The leaves, twigs and berries are all high in calcium, protein and several other minerals. Large and small mammals use the dogwood for shelter and food including the gray and fox squirrel. The white-tailed deer also uses the twigs and leaves as a food source. More than 30 species of birds also rely on the dogwood as a food source but seldom as a nesting site.

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First we dug the hole.

We had planned on planting this tree the old-fashioned way; with a shovel and our backs. However we were very lucky that our neighbor Tim came down with his tractor and made this job a piece of cake. Thank you Tim!

The nursery estimated that the tree, though small, weighed about 300 to 350 lbs. with its large burlapped root ball. I was glad we did not have to wiggle, jiggle and lift it down onto the dolly by hand, our initial plan!

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The tree is in the bird feeding bed and now the plan is to water it with a 5-gallon bucket because the plant nursery said that it needs 5 gallons of water every other day. Will do!

We will be able to enjoy this tree from the kitchen window, the dining room and our three-seasons porch. The birds will enjoy it too as they fly in, land on the tree and then swooped down to water or seeds. It’s their landing-pad!

We are past Arbor day but planting a tree reminds me of life.

Planting a Burlap Wrapped Tree:

1)      When you dig your hole make it no deeper than the current root ball.

2)      Making your hole wider is just fine.

3)      Prepare your mix-in dirt ahead of time. Make a mix of compost, original soil and other organic soil amendments ahead of time. Mix well and store in a garden cart, wheel barrel or other large container.

4)      Don’t take the burlap root ball apart. Leave the burlap root ball alone, just cut off the rope.

5)      Place the tree in the hole and carefully shovel in your soil. Pat any air out of the soil with your hands.

6)      After your tree is planted, and soil is replaced, water in along the outside of the planting area NOT the root ball. You don’t want water on your root ball.

Small House/ Big Sky Donna

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