Cornus Kousa 'Satomi'

Discussion in 'Cornus (dogwoods)' started by leafclimber, Jun 20, 2006.

  1. leafclimber

    leafclimber Member

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    I just purchased a Satomi a few days ago. Some of the flowers are white with a very light tinge of pink, others have some pink at the outer edge and one that is starting to wilt is a reddish pink color. I'll try to post some pictures tomorrow. I see a few trees in the neighborhood that are a beautiful pink. I am wondering if my tree will look that nice in a few years. I have heard that the Satomi can take a few years to develop a nice pink color. I do know also from reading on this forum that the intensity of the pink is dependent on the climate of the area and that seedlings also can have a broad range of bract colors. I assumed that it was a grafted tree but I'll verify that tonight. I guess my question comes down to this: The flowering color that I see now, is that what I should expect for now on? Thanks.
     
  2. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    The color of most pink cultivars do seem to intensify with age. If you want a more intense color, try planting in sun, making sure to keep your tree well watered. This should also increase the number of blooms you get. I should also mention that I saw trees come into my local nursery labled as 'Satomi'. Some were the normal pink coloration while others were more or less pure white. I think these last were mis-labled. It happens.
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Local grower had a sale recently, including various sizes of their own pink Kousa introduction. Some plants had white flowers touched pink up on top of the plant where there was more light exposure, others were uniformly deep coral--all labeled the same. The paler ones looked like the flowers were not all pink due to crowding in the row or holding bed. But it wouldn't be hard to make a case for them being a different clone than the coral ones as well.
     
  4. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

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    Often field grown pink kousa dogwoods bloom very pale to white the year they are dug. The trees that were not dug from the same group bloom the characteristic pink. Your tree should bloom the intense pink Satomi is known for once it is established.
     
  5. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Your tree should bloom the intense pink Satomi is known for once it is
    established.


    I am not so sure of this. The Satomi that I have seen come in from Oregon
    are not the same shade of pink that I am used to. The old shade of pink
    was a rose-pink and I am not so sure we are seeing that color universally
    like we once did. We felt these plants would lose some of their color the
    more they were grafted. I think what we felt may happen with this Kousa
    has. The original plant of the rose-pink was the Satomi, the selected red
    form was called Satomi red and the selected white form called Satomi
    white before much of the naming of the various forms have been called
    since.

    We should not see a huge variance in color of Satomi from plant to plant
    from the same growing source, even taking into account different light
    intensity considerations. The old plant was pretty uniform in color
    for us, no matter if it was grown in the ground in full sun or grown in
    containers under 50% shade cloth in a saran house. It is true that this
    Kousa will have its color intensify as the plant ages but uniformity of
    color even in the juvenile plants that I've seen has been troubling to me.

    Jim
     
  6. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    You may be right about the relation of color intensity to available light. Perhaps the color variations I am seeing are due more to the maturity of the bracts as they come into full flower. I also think the visual effect of a plant grown in full sun may be a bit more striking, especially from a distance. Here's a pink cultivar grown in full sun by my neighbor


    Pink Kousa.jpg
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Stock I was describing had a definite pattern of bleached (all-white) flowers being on lower branches of comparatively sparse, drawn-up looking specimens--like would be produced in a crowded situation--with half-pink (or nearly so) bracts on top. Same appearance as with purpleleaf Japanese maples having partly green leaves on more shaded portions. Other dogwoods at same event, with all pink, seemingly deeper pink bracts were shorter and maybe denser, with more bronzed foliage as well.

    Same purpleleaf plum (or purpleleaf Japanese maple) can have different leaf coloring on different sites, dogwoods may show some of this as well. Magnolia cultivars can have wildly different tepal pigmentation and size--that may be a more similar example to dogwood flower bract variations. Maybe one time environment, next time genetics. What made me wonder about the uniformity of the naming of the dogwoods was that even the fully exposed bracts of the one set were partly white (as well as the pink seeming less deep, but I didn't hold the two types next to one another and check this). Deeper, true-to-type (I guess) ones also seemed to have broader, touching bracts. If it turned out they had some 'Satomi' or other older, less extreme flower type as well as their own cultivar all on offer that day as their own one that wouldn't surprise me.

    Passing through local urban residential neighborhoods where pink Kousa (and probably pink Orton hybrid) are now common and in flower much variation is apparent. Many different clones, or variation within clones due to site conditions? Both?
     
  8. leafclimber

    leafclimber Member

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    Thanks for all the feedback. I'll try to take a picture of tree in the neighborhood that I keep comparing mine to. The tree I speak of is a beautiful pink, is planted in full sun and probably is 5-10 years old if I had to guess.

    Here is my first attempt at posting attachments. Hopefully they provide enough detail. I did look at the lower trunk and the tree appears to be grafted as it has a stub from the rootstock.

    Depending on the feedback I receive from these pictures, I may decide to return this tree and purchase next spring and find a tree in bloom that has the coloring that I am looking for, or at least a more consistent color. Please note that I will be planting the tree in a location that gets about 6 hours of sun, from about 8am until 2pm. I already have a Trinity Star white kousa dogwood in the front yard, which is why I really wanted a pink one in the back yard. Thanks!
     

    Attached Files:

  9. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    With Satomi we are dealing with a Kousa Dogwood that has
    become impure over time with grafting our pink scions onto
    a white flowering Kousa rootstock. Aside from genetic
    variability we have essentially bred into the plant by using
    a white flowering rootstock, we can see color variance in
    these plants depending on the age of plants, light intensity,
    water, pH and soil and nutrient factors that can greatly affect
    the color of these plants from grower to grower. I seriously
    doubt that Gordo would have gone out and purchased named
    forms of the pink Satomi had he known that they would all
    look the same at some point in time. The hope is that they
    will not all be the same plant with varying shapes to the flower
    bracts and the color changes the flowers can go through in a
    blooming period. Many of the current day Satomi do have high
    white in their color which tells me they are not the same form
    we had years ago and quite frankly I did not expect to see
    today what we once saw several years ago. Any more if
    the plant shows pink in the color it can be called Satomi.
    No one hoodwinked you there, as you do see pink but in
    this Dogwood there can be varying amounts of white and
    degree of pink that we will see from plant to plant depending
    on the grower. All I made mention of is that there should
    not be this variance in color from the same growers plants
    as they come into a retail nursery. As a matter of fact I
    have seen Satomi come in from a well known wholesale
    nursery with the same color as the Dogwood that is shown
    in these photos. We can go round and round as to why
    this Dogwood does not show an evenness of pink that
    others that have been in the ground may show or why
    one growers Satomi may not be the same in color as
    another growers will be, let's say in Gresham and in
    Boring. This is true for many plants in that the plant
    comes into the nursery as a Pink Dogwood and we see
    the flowers show high white the first few years we have
    the plant and wonder what happened. Well, it takes a
    while for some of these plants to adapt to our conditions
    and it took one of my Kousa chinensis over 10 years to
    adapt to my mountainous location for it. The color I saw
    after it finally bloomed when I chastised myself for ever
    buying it and the color I now see which makes this plant
    off-limits to anyone, now no one gets a piece of this plant,
    can and does happen.

    Jim
     
  10. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    Jim

    Excuse my ignorance, and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but what you seem to be saying is that over time, and through some means that may well be beyond the scope of this thread, the genetic material contained within grafted scions of an individual cultivar can become corrupted, resulting in variation in observed phenotypes inconsistant with the original plant. If this is the case, would it not make more sense to propagate such cultivars through other means - cuttings or micropropagation, for example in order to maintain the true form of the plant? Perhaps there are some down sides to this besides the obvious?
     
  11. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Yes, I am saying that over time our continued
    grafting of these plants can cause a change in
    them.

    We always felt the Satomi should be grafted onto
    a pink seedling rootstock rather than a standard
    white as we felt over time the white rootstock may
    or could influence the color of the rose-pink flower
    color. This may have happened and it may not have
    but in time we will have the tools to check it out and
    be more certain.

    Very few people would look at the big picture in
    this manner but when we see the results of what
    the original Satomi was and may still be, I bet it
    is not the same as what the general and consensus
    Satomi is now and this was not solely due to
    environmental and/or cultural factors. I am saying
    there is the likelihood that the current day Satomi
    may have been influenced more than we care to
    admit by the white flowering rootstocks and yes,
    once the original plants that came into us were
    grafted we felt those offspring from then on
    should be propagated by cuttings. So as not
    to overly influence the color of the flower with
    continued propagation by grafting. Unless we
    used a pink seedling and even then we felt they
    needed to be a pure line seed which we did not
    feel any that we had were, as our pink seedlings
    came from a grafted, rather than from a cutting
    grown, parent but we used them anyway for our
    initial grafting and sent cuttings from these plants
    back as per the original agreement.

    Gordo, I like what you are doing and as a collector
    myself in other plants, as well as having a small
    collection of Cornus florida since the mid 80's,
    I can appreciate what you are trying to do better than
    most people will. I will find what you are seeing with
    your pink Kousas to be more valuable to me than any
    book as then I can compare notes with others I know
    that have some of the same plants as you have. This
    is what some of us will do when we do not have the
    plant ourselves but know where some of these plants
    are to feel as though we have been around them enough
    to have a general idea as to what they are doing now
    and how they are behaving for people.

    Jim
     
  12. Gordo

    Gordo Active Member 10 Years

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    Thanks for your reply Jim. Good information.
     
  13. leafclimber

    leafclimber Member

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    It is great to have some very knowledgeable gardeners contributing to this and other forums. What rootstock is used for Cornus Florida Rubra, Cherokee Chief, and other pink varieties? I have never seen or heard of this with these dogwood trees. Florida also seems to have its adult color bract in young trees. This color variety that we see could be as simple as lack of management of the Satomi name like one of you suggested. If some farm raises a bunch of seedling trees from a Satomi tree and some have pink bracts then they may just sell those as Satomi even though the seedlings will most likely have different characteristics. These trees should be sold as Satomi Seedlings, Cornus Kousa pink, or as a new variety that ideally should be registered for propagation and monitoring.

    The theory of the rootstock gaining control of the scion and changing its properties seems a bit unlikely, but I don't know enough about this subject to say yes or no. I would expect that this behavior would show itself in fruit and other grafted trees yet I don't hear of this.

    Soil acidity, moisture, sun exposure, and other environmental factors do play a role in a plants growth habit, leaf coloring, and flower size and coloring so it could just be that. But since pink kousa's are relative newcomers to the nursery trade and they are popular with consumers, a dilution of the Satomi name with trees showing any amount of pink is probably the most likely culprit.

    I saw a beni fuji kousa the other day. Very nice bract color, though the small bracts lack the impact viewed from a distance. Do the bracts on this variety get bigger with age or do they remain small with respect to those of satomi? Thanks.
     
  14. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    For descriptions of pink Kousa cultivars look at out of print NORTH AMERICAN LANDSCAPE TREES from Ten Speed Press and new DOGWOODS from Timber Press.

    I looked at a couple 'Satomi' at a retail outlet today. Both had same grower tags, implying same origin but one had a redbud hanging over it and was mostly white.
     
  15. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    The theory of the rootstock gaining control of the
    scion and changing its properties seems a bit unlikely,
    but I don't know enough about this subject to say yes
    or no. I would expect that this behavior would show
    itself in fruit and other grafted trees yet I don't hear
    of this.


    What happens when a Japanese Maple reverts? We
    can see a variegated Maple like Beni schichihenge
    have good variegated color for 7-12 years and then
    the Maple no longer has any variegation. The Maple
    has changed and with the reversion it is generally
    accepted that the scion was overtaken by the rootstock.
    Even when there are no visible signs below the graft
    that this had happened, which was our biggest concern
    for the use of overly vigorous rootstock for certain
    variegated Japanese Maple varieties.

    For Fruit Trees that are grafted more so than the
    ones that are budded we do see influence of the
    rootstock in the tree and all we have to do is think
    in terms of dwarfing rootstock on Apples and how
    the rootstock affects the size and shape of the
    tree as well as the size and quality, sometimes
    even the color, of the fruit. We see the influence
    of the rootstocks on Citrus with the cold tolerance
    in the top growth. That was essentially bred into
    the plant and the cold resistance came from the
    rootstock. Place a Eureka Lemon on its own roots
    out in 18 degree weather for 6 hours and watch
    what happens to it as opposed to a Eureka grafted
    onto trifoliate Orange rootstock. The argument that
    the rootstock does not influence the scion does not
    apply with these above examples.

    Virtually all Cornus florida are grafted onto
    white seedling rootstock.

    Jim
     

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