How to Plant and Care for Dogwood Trees

Overview

Known for its rich green foliage and showy spring blooms, the dogwood grows as a tree or shrub. Though the dogwood usually averages about 15 to 20 feet tall, some mature dogwoods can reach up to 35 feet. This deciduous tree blooms white flowers in early spring and then produces red cluster fruit that lasts until winter. The dogwood is a hardy, fast-growing tree that adapts well to its surroundings.

Planting

Step 1

Place the tree in a well-drained location. Choose a partially shaded area that receives full sunlight in the mornings and shade for the rest of the day.

Step 2

Plant the dogwood tree in the late fall. Remove the tree from its bindings and gently loosen the soil around the root ball. Do not pull or stretch the roots

Step 3

Dig a hole at least twice the depth and width of the tree's root system, using a shovel. Loosen any compacted soil to make growth easier for the root system.

Step 4

Place the dogwood in the center of the hole and begin to fill the hole with the soil. Fill the hole halfway with soil. Water the hole to settle the soil. Repeat the process again to finish the hole. Make sure that the tree's final planting surface is slightly elevated from the surrounding surface.

Step 5

Irrigate the dogwood thoroughly after planting. Continue to irrigate the tree one to two times each week, always adjusting for rainy and dry periods.

Care

Step 1

Apply fertilizer one year after planting. Feed the dogwood in late winter to early spring, and again in midsummer. Use a well-balanced, slow release fertilizer such as a 20-20-20 or 30-30-30 combination.

Step 2

Line the dogwood's planting area with a 3- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch to save moisture and protect the tree from weed invasion.

Step 3

Prune the dogwood to maintain the tree's healthy state. Cut away dead, wilted and injured areas. Use sharp, sterile shears to complete a smooth, angular cut. This will promote rapid healing.

Step 4

Inspect the tree regularly for signs of poor health. Inspect the base of the trunk for small wounds and borers. Inspect the foliage for spots, mildew coverings and wilt. Look for cankers and ooze from the trunk.

Step 5

Treat infections and infestations immediately to prevent permanent injury to the tree. Use a fungicidal spray treatment to control and eliminate fungal diseases, and some bacterial diseases. Speak with a local horticultural or nursery specialist for diagnosis assistance.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Shovel
  • Water

References

  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Selection and Care of Dogwoods
  • North Carolina State University: Flowering Dogwood
  • Floridata: Cornus Florida
Keywords: dogwood care, planting a dogwood, dogwood tree

About this Author

Charmayne Smith is a business professional and freelance writer. She has worked in management for successful organizations since 1994. Smith draws on her business background to write articles, and her work has appeared in a variety of online outlets. She holds a degree in business from Cleveland State University.