Monday, September 27, 2010

Dry Dogwoods

There’s a chance of rain today, but the effects of a ten week drought cannot be reversed. Blue Jay Barrens experienced excessive rainfall early in the year. It looked like plants might grow out of control, until the rain suddenly shut off in early July. During the past 6 weeks we have had only 0.15 inches of rain and that came in three separate showers. A drought becomes really serious when it begins to affect the shrubs and trees. The Flowering Dogwoods, Cornus florida, have become prime examples of drought stressed trees.

The bright red of the autumn dogwood leaves will be lost from the landscape this year. Many of the leaves are already brown and crisp. The others are too far gone to recover, even if we get abundant rainfall today.

The fruit seems to be alright. The seeds are fully developed and the red fruit should be attractive to the birds.

Most of these dogwoods were just recovering from the periodical cicada damage they suffered two years ago. This isn’t the first drought they’ve endured. I expect them to survive, but their start next year may be a little less vigorous than normal.

What happens to these buds will determine what things will be like next year. These enlarged terminal buds will be producing the flowers next spring. Continued dry weather could impair the development of the buds and cause a lack of flowers. No spring flowers means no fall fruit, so weather conditions during the next few weeks could have a major impact on fruit availability next year.


  1. So sad about the drought. You are close to where we live, but we aren't home right now. It's sad to think of what is happening on our property. We'll see it soon.

    Thanks for more great images.

  2. ...with the cicadas, ice storms, hurricane-force winds (08) and now another drought, I wonder how much longer my trees and plants are going to hold out.

  3. We had an opposite problem this year. A very wet spring affected plants and trees this summer- so for the better, some for the worse. My cherry trees were very happy after a couple of lackluster years, but my walnut tree produced significantly less walnuts than in previous years.

    Best of luck- I hope you get dogwood flowers in the spring.

  4. Hi Steve...I wish those buckets of water I have been sending your way would stop drying up on the way there!! ; }
    What a shame though to watch things like that happen!
    That is a pretty fruit there must be some nourishment there somewhere!!

  5. Lois – Hopefully there’s been more rainfall at your house. There have been several days when rains came through Southern Ohio, but missed us. Maybe the rains have all been falling on your property.

    I know what you mean, Kelly. My trees remind me of old combat veterans; covered with scars, but full of great stories to tell.

    Thanks, Mike. We started out the year with more rain than we could handle and then we suddenly went to the opposite extreme. It’s been interesting.

    Hi grammie g – We’ve had light rain all day. Not buckets, but we’ve managed to accumulate half an inch so far. This should at least wash the dust off the plants and make things look clean and bright.