Dogwoods are favored for their attractive blooms. It's disheartening to spend time and money on planting a dogwood tree, and then not see any it produce any flowers. Blooms on dogwood trees are called bracts, as they are actually leaves shaped like flower petals. If bracts do not appear on a dogwood tree, there are several possibilities why this has happened. Investigating each possibility helps you determine the best course of action to take.
Observe how much sunlight the dogwood is receiving. Dogwoods produce more blooms when grown in full shade. Dogwoods also grow in full sun; however, they won't produce as many blooms or grow as tall as those planted in partial to full shade.
Look for signs of disease, which may cause a dogwood tree to fail to bloom. Signs of disease include spots on leaves, dropping leaves or weak stems. Also be on the alert for insect infestations. Use an appropriate fungicide or insecticide spray, if needed.
Investigate whether a diseased tree or plant previously grew where the dogwood tree is now planted. Often, diseases can be passed on to trees through soil in which a diseased tree was planted earlier. If the disease was passed to the dogwood tree through the soil, this can cause the tree to fail to bloom.
Test the pH level of the dogwood's soil. Dogwoods perform best in soil with a pH level of 5.2 to 6.0. If needed, increase or decrease the pH level with soil amendments from a local garden center, nursery or retailer. Adding lime to the soil increases its pH level, while adding alumni sulfur or sulfate decreases the soil's pH level.
Apply fertilizer to the dogwood's soil to promote blooms. Use a general, all-purpose fertilizer. While dogwoods don't require regular fertilization, adding some fertilizer can help the tree to bloom. This is especially true for dogwoods that were planted in non-fertile soil.
Determine how much water the dogwood receives each week. Dogwood trees must have at least 1 inch of water per week. If it's not receiving enough water, this could be why the tree isn't blooming.
Consider the possibility that you simply have a tree that just won't bloom, no matter what you do. Occasionally, dogwood trees have been improperly cared for prior to being planted. Alternatively, it could be that the tree simply doesn't possess the ability to produce the blooms of a normal dogwood tree.