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Old 07-08-2012, 01:02 PM   #1
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Snow messed up my Dogwood. advice?


We got 10" of snow dumped on us back in October and it devistated all the trees around. Luckly I had a 20' piece of conduit to knock the snow from my red maples. Unfortunately I didn't get to my favorite Dogwood in time. It broke the main branch running up the middle but left all the other branches.

I don't want to cut it down so I'm looking for advice on how to prune it and when. I brought this home in my VW 14 years ago when we moved in.


I noticed while mowing today that there are a bunch of new shutes coming up from the main. I was thinking of just cutting off all the side branches and letting it start over.

I'm dumb as a bag of hammers when it comes to pruning so bear with me.



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Old 07-08-2012, 04:59 PM   #2
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Snow messed up my Dogwood. advice?


If you do not want to remove it( probably the best thing to do) then cut all but one straight sucker off and see what happens. It will never be right again the way it is.

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Old 07-08-2012, 05:24 PM   #3
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Snow messed up my Dogwood. advice?


Between your Dogwood and the neighbor's in the first picture, they appear to be more like bushes than trees. I would say that if you can find a way to cable the tops from either direction to pull back up, within a year the crown may return back to being somewhat straight. Otherwise, if you get another bad storm with heavy snow load, that tree is pretty much done for.

Depending on how your neighbors object to you putting in the ground on either side a 12 foot 4x4, then cables with turnbuckles, so you can pull the tree back up to straight, I would try that first, before writing it off.
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Old 07-08-2012, 05:42 PM   #4
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Snow messed up my Dogwood. advice?


What I would do is a long-shot, but it's worth trying.

As I'm looking at the top picture, I'd prune off the entire "right" side of the tree. I'd then drive a steel post, strap the upper part of the remaining tree, and do my best to pull it over so that it eventually grows straight.

The picture below kind of gives an idea of what I'm talking about.

It's a long shot, but hey, what do you have to lose?


Last edited by DrHicks; 07-08-2012 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:24 PM   #5
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Snow messed up my Dogwood. advice?


I would try the Hicks approach but cut that side branch that is to become the leader branch back. It looks like the tree got away from you in the first place. Cut out all the shoots in the center. Reshape over several seasons.

Use solid stakes. I used to buy and spec lodgepole pine ones. Use tree ties made of recycled tires in a figure eight so you do not cut into the tree. I would use aircraft cable or other braided galvanized wire and turnbuckles so you can keep pulling the tree limb.

It is a bit of a longshot but worth a try. It may never look right though.

Another option is to prune the branch that is healthy way back and air layer parts it (read up on the process in the library or online). Basically you carefully peel off the bark of a section about 3-4" long. Cover it with rooting hormone and moist spanghum moss (get it sterilized if you can). Wrap this with thick plastic or foil and seal tightly. In a few months or more the area you cut should have grown roots and you can plant it in the ground as a replacement tree.



You might be able to layer those branches near the ground in the soil. The process is similar but you weight and bury the purposely wound bark area directly in the soil.

Good luck. The good news is new dogwoods are not especially expensive but it sounds like this one has sentimental value.

Last edited by user1007; 07-08-2012 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:00 PM   #6
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Snow messed up my Dogwood. advice?


Quote:
Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
I would try the Hicks approach but cut that side branch that is to become the leader branch back. It looks like the tree got away from you in the first place. Cut out all the shoots in the center. Reshape over several seasons.

Good luck. The good news is new dogwoods are not especially expensive but it sounds like this one has sentimental value.
"The Hicks Approach." Danged right!

You mentioned something I forgot, and need to reinforce. Choose the best of the "relatively upright" branches for the main trunk. Prune the other stuff back severely, and give it a go. Consider the tree a loss, and if it comes back alright you've scored bonus points.

Also, you might want to think about timing. I didn't notice where you're located, but here in the Midwest we've just gone through a hellatious hot snap. Trees are already stressed during heat waves like that, so you should at least wait for moderate temperatures. Fall and/or early spring are pretty good times of the year, if you can wait that long.
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Old 07-09-2012, 04:04 AM   #7
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Snow messed up my Dogwood. advice?


All of the above are good ideas but in the long run,I still think it would be better to replace it. I was in the tree industry for almost 20 years and have seen this situation often.
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Old 07-09-2012, 04:43 AM   #8
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Snow messed up my Dogwood. advice?


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All of the above are good ideas but in the long run,I still think it would be better to replace it. I was in the tree industry for almost 20 years and have seen this situation often.
Totally agree but the OP seems attached to this tree. Perhaps he will decide to take it out and plant a new one this Fall. Meanwhile the suggestions for trying to save it in some form may speed his grieving period. He will know he did what he could as he gives it one last hug.
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Old 07-09-2012, 07:56 AM   #9
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Snow messed up my Dogwood. advice?


Ok. so I was talking with the wife. We just bought new property to build a house on. (another post on here)

Maybe it's a sign of our leaving. Time to grow one at the new place.

I did have to repair the tree once before with string and wax and all the good stuff. it held up well for years.

Thanks. Calling Paul Bunun.
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Old 07-09-2012, 05:02 PM   #10
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Snow messed up my Dogwood. advice?


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Originally Posted by bigcaddy View Post
Ok. so I was talking with the wife. We just bought new property to build a house on. (another post on here)

Maybe it's a sign of our leaving. Time to grow one at the new place.

I did have to repair the tree once before with string and wax and all the good stuff. it held up well for years.

Thanks. Calling Paul Bunun.

There you go
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Old 07-09-2012, 06:05 PM   #11
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Snow messed up my Dogwood. advice?


Sounds like a plan. Had a similar situation with a favorite plum tree last fall. We had a freak Halloween snowstorm that dumped a lot of snow on on trees before their leaves fell off, so there was a lot of limb damage. The plum basically split right down the trunk, total goner. We had to cut it down. It was maybe 20 ft tall, a bit bigger than your tree.

We took some cuttings and tried to propagate it, but they didn't take over the winter. Surprise surprise, come this spring we had suckers come up from the roots, and one is already several feet tall and growing like a champ.

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