NATIVE PLANTS or EXOTIC PLANTS? Always choose native!

When purchasing DOGWOODS, always choose our native flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), its popular with home gardeners and one of the most widely planted Flowering-Dogwood-Treeornamental trees. Unsprayed native Cornus florida Dogwoods attract honeybees and native bees.

Our flowering dogwoods co-evolved with the wildlife species that share their native ranges, and they produce berries at the same time that birds begin their autumn migration. Cornus florida produces fruit in the form of a drupe, which has high fat and calcium content and provides nourishment to many birds and mammals. Fruit is readily eaten by game birds, including wild turkeys, ruffled grouse and quail, as well as songbirds like cardinals, grosbeaks, robins, brown thrashers and cedar waxwings. Both the browse and the fruit are very important food items for white-tailed deer. Other mammals, including rabbits, foxes, black bears, chipmunks and squirrels often eat the fruit.

The National Wildlife Federation published reports in 2004 that the introduction of the Asian Kousa Dogwood by commercial nurseries and landscapers for the purpose of ornamental landscaping is responsible for an exotic anthracnose (a type of fungus) that slowly kills our native dogwoods. Kousa dogwood also produces fruits that are twice as large as native dogwood berries and inedible to most birds.

Flowering dogwood is also considered a soil builder. The leaves have very high calcium content (2-3.5%) and decompose rapidly making these minerals quickly available (Hepting,1971; Thomas, 1969). Positive impact on soil fertility is enhanced by its capacity to achieve maximum photosynthetic rate at low light levels found in the understory (Kramer and Decker,1944).

The majority of dogwoods used in the landscape are produced in Tennessee with an estimated farm gate value of about 6.18 millions of dollars in 1998 (USDANASS, 1998). Unfortunately these receipts have been impacted negatively in recent years by the following two diseases caused by fungi: dogwood anthracnose and powdery mildew.

For more info on Dogwoods visit “At Home Memphis and Midsouth” by Andy Pulite

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