How to Care for a Flowering Dogwood Tree

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Flowering dogwoods have long been cherished by homeowners for their graceful limbs and delicate, spring blossoms of pink or white. One variety, the Kousa dogwood, blooms well into June. Its pale green flowers eventually turn a luminous white, lending it a lovely glow on late spring evenings. Dogwood is native to the United States and will grow almost anywhere that moisture and light conditions permit. If you plant dogwoods in a sheltered location in well-drained soil, they need very little maintenance.

Difficulty:
Easy

Instructions

Things You’ll Need
  • Water
  • Shovel or spade
  • Peat
  • Sand
  • Gloves
  • Pruning shears
  • Mulch
    1. Water dogwoods deeply during dry spells. Dogwoods have a shallow, wide root system that needs extra moisture to thrive. Establish a watering circle that matches the drip line of the tree’s lowest branches.
    2. Avoid using fertilizer on dogwoods. If the soil is too rich, the tree will become overstimulated, causing weak, spindly growth, particularly when the tree is young.
    3. Keep the soil around your dogwood draining properly. If you notice water pooling around the base of the trunk, amend the soil with equal parts sand and peat, digging it in with a spade or shovel, until the soil drains well.
    4. Prune only to remove dead or damaged wood. Dogwoods are tough but vulnerable to pests and fungus through wounds in their bark. Put on gloves and clip branches with pruning shears at a 45-degree angle to prevent scars and allow moisture to run off the wound.
    5. Lay down a few inches of organic mulch in a circle the same size as your watering circle to keep weeds down and prevent competition for nutrients. Be sure to keep mulch three to four inches away from the trunk to prevent bark rot.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plant dogwoods in the company of other trees. They grow best in sheltered areas and not in exposed or windy sites.

  • Don’t try to transplant dogwoods from the woods. Dogwoods transplant poorly and your efforts will likely go to waste.

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