How to Cultivate Dogwood Trees


Flowering trees provide height and ornamental value in landscape designs. One type of blossoming tree, the flowering dogwood tree (Cornus florida), thrives in moist, well-drained soils. In its natural environment, the dogwood tree flourishes in forests, under the canopy of other varieties of taller trees. This fast-growing tree produces clusters of white and pink blossoms in the early spring. Cultivate this blossoming tree in your yard to enhance the beauty of your landscape.

Step 1

Test the soil in your yard to determine the porosity and level of nutrients. Collect the soil sample and send it off to be tested. Follow the recommendations on the test results to replace missing nutrients in your soil. Dogwood trees prefer soil with a pH level near 5.5. Add a little organic matter, such as compost, to increase the acidity in alkaline soils.

Step 2

Dig a hole about 12 inches deep in the soil to conduct a drainage test. Fill the hole to the brim with water. Wait about six hours. Check the hole for standing water. An empty hole indicates adequate soil drainage. If water remains, choose a site a little higher in elevation for planting.

Step 3

Dig planting holes deep enough to place the surface of the rootballs level with the surrounding soil. Backfill your holes with a mixture of existing soil and wood chips. Plant purchased dogwood trees or transplanted varieties in the fall. Plant your dogwood trees on a cool, shady day to avoid shocking and damaging your young trees. Set a soaker hose over the roots and water to a depth of about 6 inches. Keep the soil slightly moist to ensure adequate moisture near the roots of your dogwood trees.

Step 4

Apply a few inches of shredded bark or wood chip mulch over your trees' roots to retain moisture. Maintain a healthy environment by pulling out weeds that appear near your trees. These weeds compete with dogwood trees for available water and nutrients.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid using herbicides near your dogwood trees. The shallow roots of these trees readily soak up surface herbicides.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil test kit
  • Compost
  • Shovel
  • Wood chips
  • Soaker hose
  • Shredded bark


  • University of Florida: Flowering Dogwood
  • Quality Tree and Shrub Seeds: Flowering Dogwood Care
  • North Carolina State University: Dogwood Trees

Who Can Help

  • Purdue University: Flowering Dogwood
Keywords: grow dogwoods, dogwood trees, dogwood care

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.