Isanti dogwood #806070

Asked August 13, 2022, 12:59 PM EDT

We have a (formerly) beautiful Isanti dogwood bush planted amongst ferns in mostly sandy soil and a SE exposure. It was healthy when we planted it this spring and we kept it watered diligently and spread osmocote at planting. Now it’s lost its leaves and several of the stems appear dead. Can ferns crowd it out or is there some kind of chemical in the ferns that would cause this to happen? Or is it under/over watered?

Ramsey County Minnesota

Expert Response

There is nothing in the roots of ferns that cause this but ferns have an extensive root system that is probably not allowing your dogwood to grow.  If it were an established shrub and then ferns were planted it could hold its own.  I suggest you dig it up, check the roots and see if they are still white and firm.  Pick a different site for your shrub.  Dig the hole wider than deep.  Mix in some good compost with your sand (Osmocote is a beaded fertilizer meant for containers, not in the ground).  Loosen up the sides of the hole and then plant your shrub with the first roots off the stem just barely below the ground level.  Put down some shredded wood mulch but keep it away from the stems 4" or so.  This link will guide you on watering: 
Watering newly planted trees and shrubs | UMN Extension
Barbara Harlan Replied August 13, 2022, 8:38 PM EDT

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