The flowering dogwood tree is a member of the Cornaceae family and the Virginia state tree. Flowering dogwood trees are frequently used as an ornamental plant in commercial and residential landscapes because of the showy flowers and wonderful fragrance it provides.
Dogwood trees are deciduous trees that feature hardy wood that is commonly cultivated for making shutters, golf clubs, and to use in weaving. The flowers produced in the spring and the leaf color in the fall make this a showy tree year-round. Flowering dogwood trees are relatively low maintenance and remain healthy as long as they are pruned annually and provided with 1 inch of water weekly.
Flowering dogwood trees mature to a height of 20 to 35 feet and can be grown as a single-trunked tree or a multi-trunked tree. The flowering dogwood tree is frequently as wide as it is tall, giving it a round shape. Lower branches extend out horizontally while those on the upper half of the tree grow vertically.
Flowering dogwood trees feature simple, opposite leaves that are oval in shape. Each leaf is 2 to 8 inches long and green in color. These pinnate leaves turn a vibrant red in the fall before falling. The white flowers produced in the spring are showy against the green leaves and appear in clusters. Flowers start blooming in March and last 2 weeks to a month. The flower itself is rather small but is surrounded by bright white brachts, which are actually a type of leaf but appear as a petal.
Dogwood Trees thrive in fertile, acidic, loamy soils with a pH of 5.2 to 6.0. Promote healthy growth by planting flowering dogwood trees in well-drained soils rich in organic matter. These trees prefer sites with partial shade. Planting this tree in the direct sunlight will stunt its growth. Flowering dogwood trees grow well in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 8, which makes them widely used throughout much of the United States.
Dogwood trees are successfully grown as understory trees because they enjoy the shade. In ornamental landscapes, these trees are commonly planted along with rhododendrons, azaleas, and other shrubs that yield spring flowers. Dogwoods can also be used as a specimen around patios and terraces because they do not have invasive root systems.