How to Grow Flowering Dogwood

Опубликовал Admin
2-04-2021, 23:10
Flowering dogwood (Cornus Florida) is a perennial tree with beautiful flowers that bloom in pink, red, and white, depending on the variety of the tree. It is native to the eastern half of North America. Though it can be grown all over the United States and some parts of Mexico, this tree grows best in the American south. This ornamental tree is a great way to add beauty to your preferred location with the right preparation, planting, and care.

Preparing to Plant

  1. Obtain disease-free nursery stock seedlings. It is important that you never transport a dogwood from the wild. Trees imported from the wild may be infested with pests and diseases.
  2. Check the seedling for damage or lesions. You can start with seeds or a bare-root seedling. If you're starting with a seedling, check the ball (of soil) for moisture and make sure there is sufficient moisture around the roots. Also checking it for damage and lesions will prevent failed or dying trees.
    • Bare-root saplings are young trees that are harvested from field nursery beds and packaged with no soil. This aids easy planting and adaptation to soil.
    • Check for damage by looking for sturdy, straight trunks and leaves without yellow or brown spots.
  3. Collect seeds from mature trees in fall. If you choose to plant from seeds instead of seedlings, you need to pick them when they are mature. The seeds begin to turn red and mature in late summer, and they will be ready by fall.
    • Do not remove from ground. Remove them straight from the tree. If they don't come off easily, then wait another one or two weeks.
    • Let them sit for a week to two. Then, soak the seeds in a pail of water for one or two days to remove all pulp.
    • Fill the bucket with water. The good seeds will sink to the bottom of the pail.
    • Allow the seeds to dry and store them in a cool, dry place.
  4. Plan to plant the seed or seedlings in the spring. You can try to plant your tree in the fall or summer, but spring is the best time of year for planting. The air is cool and, and the ground is moist in the spring.
  5. Choose a planting position with shade. This tree needs partial or dappled shade. Dogwoods will naturally grow as understory trees, and they need protection from the taller trees that are around them. A little shade in the south and full sun in the north is a good position for the tree. The more shade, the more growth, and the poorer the flowering and autumn colors. Trees in the sun are stouter, more like bushes, and produce many more flowers.
    • Make sure that there is plenty of space for your dogwood tree to grow as well. They can grow to be around 15 to 30 feet (5 to 9 m) tall.
  6. Choose moist, rich, and well-drained soil to grow the seeds. Root rot is a common problem with dogwood, so be sure to choose a location that drains well and will not waterlog.
    • Dogwoods grow best in soil that is slightly acidic. You can test the soil's acidity in several, simple ways. Adding peat moss, sulfur, and ferrous sulfate can all help to raise your soil's acidity.
    • Well-drained soil means that the water infiltrates at a medium rate. Meaning that it is somewhere between draining and running off. You can test this by digging a hole that is 12-18 inches deep and filling the hole with water.
    • Drainage within 10 minutes means fast drainage.
    • Drainage that takes an hour means slow drainage.
  7. Cut off damaged roots before planting the seedling. Cut damaged roots off with a sharp knife. Allow the roots to soak for 3 to 4 hours. Your roots should be healthy if bought from a nursery, but some roots may become damaged before planting.
    • Swollen, dark colored, or limp roots need to be cut.

Planting the Seeds

  1. Sprinkle the seeds over the soil. Add ¼” of soil over the top of the seeds.
  2. Dig a hole that is at least three times the diameter of the root ball to plant the seedling. This is so that the roots have enough room to grow. Only dig deep enough so that the ball slightly protrudes from the hole Sprinkle the seedlings over the soil.
    • Roots should be pointing straight down in the hole, not curled.
  3. Fill the hole with the same soil you dug out. Fill it with both topsoil and subsoil. Gently mound the soil around the ball. Make sure to not cover the top part of the ball.
  4. Apply a layer of mulch to help conserve water. Three or four inches of mulch is recommended. Make sure to keep the mulch at least a couple of inches from the trunk.
    • Pine straw mulch is good for suppressing weeds. This type of mulch is good for plants that thrive in slightly acidic soil, like the dogwood tree.
    • Hay mulch is very common and very cheap. Plants typically respond well to hay mulch.

Caring for Your Dogwood

  1. Water once per week while the tree is young. Water well but don't water log. Flowering dogwood is especially susceptible to drought stresses and having wet roots. Watering to a depth of six inches is recommended.
  2. Place a wooden or metal stake next to your seeds or seedling. This prevents your tree from being damaged by a lawn mower or anything else that comes too close to it.
    • Place a wire-mesh guard around your tree if it is planted in an area where there are a lot of rodents or deer.
  3. Irrigate your tree regularly. Trees in full sun need regular irrigation. Those in partial or full shade will draw their own water once established.
  4. Prune all diseased and dead wood off promptly. Dogwood blight can be stopped if caught early enough by the removal of diseased wood before dieback starts. These trees don't need to be pruned often, but check for anything that could prevent growth and promote disease. Make sure to prune in
    • Trees pruned in late winter bleed sap.
    • Prune and remove all dead twigs, dead limbs, and new shoots.
    • Rake up and remove fallen leaves.
    • Remove crowding vegetation and thin the canopy. This will promote air circulation.
  5. Replenish mulch yearly. Spread the mulch 10 feet from the trunk. Leave 3 inches around the base to prevent rotting the trunk.
  6. Avoid fertilizing the soil unless it is nutrient deprived. If necessary, use an all-purpose fertilizer. You will need one cup of fertilizer for every inch of the trunk's diameter. Spread the fertilizer around the root area, but don't put too much around the trunk.
  7. Protect your tree from pests by avoiding damage. Your tree will most likely not need any type of pesticide or pest control. The most common pest is the Dogwood borer. Your tree can be protected by avoiding nicking the bark when pruning.


  • Dogwood trees usually grow 25 to 30 feet. Make sure you plant it in a space where it has room to grow upward.
  • Planting it close to the woods puts it closest to its natural environment.
  • The most common Dogwood seedlings bloom white flowers. The true flowers are yellowish, but the white bracts (leaves) are what we recognize as the petals.
  • The flowers most commonly bloom in early spring for 2 to 4 weeks.


  • The fruit of flowering dogwood is poisonous to human beings.
  • Pollution, salt, heat, and drought all present dangers for flowering dogwood, which cannot tolerate any of these stresses.
  • Flowering dogwood is susceptible to canker, dogwood blight, dogwood club-gall midge, twig borers, root injury, over-fertilization and root rot from lack of soil drainage.
  • Flowering dogwood has an endangered status in Maine and is threatened in Vermont. It is most commonly planted in Georgia.
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