Replacing Flowering Dogwood with........?

bart1(6/7 Northern VA)February 15, 2013

I have a bunch of Cornus florida trees that I love, but are in the process of dying of (i'm assuming) anthracnose. I'm thinking about replacing them with small trees planted near the big ones and just leaving the existing trees to die in place (homes for birds, perching sites, etc).

My questions are:

1) Is it stupid to replace them with more C. florida trees or should I choose something else?
2) Have "they" come up with a resistant C. florida?
3) If I did plant more C. florida would the disease spread from tree to tree if they are planted close?
4) If I plant something new, what's the dogwood that looks most similar to C. florida? (I'm talking about the look of the flower).

Thanks!
Bart

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j0nd03

First, get an accurate ID of the problem by sending a sample to your local forest extension office.

Look into the cornus florida cultivar 'Appalachian Spring' which is reportedly very resistant to athracnose and the many cornus kousa cultivars, some of which, also boast of resistance to the disease.

1) 'Appalachian Spring' is the only native c. florida I would plant nearby if athracnose is confirmed as the disease. I would consider the other cultivars and seed grown trees as an experiment.

2) See comment #1

3) Most likely, yes.

4) cornus kousa would be the most similar dogwood with some resistance to athracnose. There are many fantastic kousa cultivars WRT flower abundance, color, bark, and variegation. 'Milky Way' and 'Wolf Eyes' are probably my favorite. I had a chance to see several different cultivars in flower at a botanic garden in Maine. The most spectacular tree flowering at the time was Aesculus x carnea 'Ft. McNair' and it wasn't even close! I personally think you should diversify your plantings so you don't lose a whole group of trees like you did this time.

Good luck!

John

Edit: They also had a prostrate dogwood they used as a groundcover in one of their beds. Now that was NEAT and something I had never seen before!

This post was edited by j0nd03 on Fri, Feb 15, 13 at 11:27

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 11:19AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

'Appalachian Spring' which is reportedly very resistant to athracnose

==>> resistant.. is not A proof ... you wanna bet.. if in fact A is your problem.. you will be the first to infect the resistant one????

you have two basic issues ...

first.. a presumption of what is wrong.. define such.. act accordingly ...

your second problem.. is your monoculture ... all your plants are dying.. because they are ALL ONE PLANT ... and now that you are losing some of them.. you want to plant more of the same ...

the key here.. is diversity ... plant something ELSE!!!! ... crimminey.. there are about a bazillion alternatives to more dogwoods ...

but do get that ID completed.. before we start making presumptions ...

take a branch to a high end nursery.. if not your COUNTY extension office.. or post a pic here.. and perhaps these wizards can ID it for you

good luck

ken

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 12:22PM
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Ispahan Zone6a Chicago

To second what John said above, 'Appalachian Spring' has been found to be highly resistant to anthracnose. It is a classic white form of Cornus florida found in the wild (I think in Maryland?) and said to be a very rapid grower.

Also, take a good look at Cornus 'Venus', a complex hybrid of C. kousa and C. nuttallii that, in flower, looks like a Cornus florida on steroids. It flowers a bit later than C. florida, but is said to have incredible visual impact and a very graceful growth habit that is expected of dogwoods in general. Also said to be highly resistant to anthracnose and mildew. To my eye, it looks like a perfect northern substitute for Davidia involucrata.

Both of these forms are available from Fairweather Gardens, an exceptional source for amazing, high quality, expertly grown plants in my experience. ForestFarm, also a great source, has at least Cornus 'Venus' (I don't remeber if they have 'Appalachian Spring' or not).

And no, resistance to infection does not mean immunity, but at least it will give you a fighting chance! :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Fairweather Gardens

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 5:20PM
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gardenapprentice

Well umm.... why would you get more of the same dogwoods? Makes no sense, but anyways..... I would get a Kousa Dogwood or Appalachian Spring. How did the trees get anthracnose? If you want to push away from dogwoods do it, there are lots of other trees (redbuds, kwanzan trees, crape myrtles, yoshino cherry trees, oaks, maples, or even some crabapples)

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 6:59PM
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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

Thanks all! Appalachian Spring looks just about perfect!

To answer some the more indignant questioners......

I love the way Flowering Dogwoods look when they are in bloom, I love the berries they produce for the migrating birds and I love they way they look in winter. To me, they perfectly represent the eastern woods in the spring. When I look at a tree in bloom and I hear and see mirgrating wablers and vireos feeding in the trees, I'm transported back to Audubon's time. A native tree in its native habitat full of native birds = perfection.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 8:33AM
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