How to Root Dogwood Trees


Dogwood trees are good for year-round interest. In the spring these woody ornamentals provide large, flat blooms with four petals. In the fall their foliage produces red leaves and berries that last through Christmas. Dogwood trees may be found growing wild in the undercanopy of a forest where birds have scattered their seed. But the irregular canopy and root structure of dogwood trees means you should not collect wild trees for your own yard. Instead, grow dogwoods from seed or propagate them through rooted cuttings.

Step 1

Time the cutting for early spring while the tree is dormant. Select a healthy, disease-free tree for the cutting.

Step 2

Sharpen your pruning shears before taking cuttings to avoid crushing the cutting.

Step 3

Soak a cloth with bleach and swipe the shears before making a cutting to prevent the spread of disease.

Step 4

Position the shears at a point 6 inches from the tip of the branch. Make your slice perpendicular to the branch so that it has at least three points where a leaf will emerge from the branch (leaf nodes).

Step 5

Place the branch in a plastic sandwich bag along with 1 tbsp. of water.

Step 6

Fill a peat pot with peat moss and soak until it is as wet as a wrung-out sponge.

Step 7

Strip the lower 2/3 of vegetation from the dogwood branch. Dip the end in rooting hormone and bury it halfway in the peat pot.

Step 8

Place a plastic freezer bag over the top of the pot. Place the pot in a windowsill out of direct sunlight. Check the pot daily. Place it in a bowl of water when the pot appears to be drying out. Remove the bag when the plant roots, which should be within 14 days.

Step 9

Transplant the tree to a larger pot when it outgrows the 6 inch pot. Transplant it into the ground when it is large enough to survive outdoors (about 3 feet tall)

Things You'll Need

  • Sharpener
  • Bleach
  • Cloth
  • Pruning shears
  • Plastic sandwich bag
  • Rooting hormone
  • Peat moss
  • 6-inch peat pot
  • Freezer bag
  • Bowl
  • Large plastic container


  • N.C. State University: Dogwood Trees
  • North Dakota State University: Questions on: Dogwood
  • N.C. State University: Flowering Dogwood
  • Univesity of Kentucky Extension: The Flowering Dogwood
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Propagation of Woody Ornamentals by Cuttings

Who Can Help

  • N.C. State University: Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings: Instructions for the Home Gardener
  • Washington State University: Hardwood Cuttings and Live Stakes
Keywords: rooting dogwood trees, growing rooted cuttings, propagating woody ornamentals

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."