Like fruit trees, dogwoods take many forms within one species. Individual trees show blossoms with unique color or vigor and only the best become commercially valuable cultivars. Stem cuttings taken from healthy dogwoods develop into new trees when propagated correctly, reproducing the original tree asexually. Growing large numbers of dogwood trees from cuttings requires special equipment, but a few cuttings taken from a healthy tree fit easily into homemade growing chambers. Through rooted cuttings, home gardeners produce beautiful dogwood trees at little expense.
Snip an 8-inch tip section of dogwood branch in early summer after leaves fully develop and new green twigs have hardened. Select wood from healthy trees which show no sign of leaf wilt or bark cankers. Any disease in the tree passes along to the cutting.
Cut two pieces of 18-gage iron wire, each 2 feet long. Bend each into a U-shape with equal sides.
Fill an 8-inch flower pot with perlite. Insert the two wires into the pot so that the wires cross and form a simple support for the tenting you'll add later.
Water the pot so that the potting soil is thoroughly moistened. Refill and water again if the potting soil settles.
Make a fresh cut across the basal end of the dogwood, cutting with a sharp knife. Wound the base of the cutting by slicing shallowly through the bark into the sapwood with the point of the knife. Make two vertical cuts on opposite sides of the stem, between 1 and 2 inches long.
Dip the base of the cutting into rooting hormone powder, dusting the freshly cut tip and the vertical wounds thoroughly. Powder should stick to the fresh cuts.
Use a pencil to make a 2-inch-deep hole in the perlite. Stir slightly from side to side to form a hole larger than the cutting's diameter. Insert the cutting carefully into the hole without disturbing the rooting powder. Press soil against the sides of the cutting carefully to hold the cutting upright and compress any air pockets.
Place a clean, clear, plastic bag over the wire framework and rooting pot. Twist the bag at the side of the pot and wrap the bag to the base with garden twine.
Set the rooting pot in a warm area out of direct sunlight. Water if needed, but the partly sealed environment should substitute for the frequent misting preferred by commercial growers.
Transfer the cuttings to 4-inch diameter pots filled with potting soil after three months when roots are well established. Transplant dogwood cuttings to permanent locations outdoors in early winter when the cuttings have hardened off and gone dormant.