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Beautiful Dogwoods

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Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Riding up to Clemson recently, the sides of the highways  were showing good fall color from the large hickories, tulip poplars, and maples. A smaller tree that was adding to the beauty was our native dogwood, Cornus florida with reddish burgundy leaves. Dogwoods are happiest at the edges of woodlands. In those settings, they have their shallow roots established in soils rich in leaf mold; soils that can hold water but offer good drainage. In filtered light conditions, dogwood branches gracefully reach outward to expose their leaves to sunlight, creating an open, loose canopy that lets you more fully appreciate their beauty. In full sun, surrounded by turf, dogwoods grow like a lollipop, all bunched up, with none of that softening, relaxed aspect found in more natural settings, and they are more likely to suffer from drought and damage from lawn mowers. 

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.