How to Care for a White Dogwood


The dogwood tree is native to the eastern United States. Native trees called Cornus Florida have creamy white bracts, can grow to 35 feet tall and have a spread of 25 feet. The dogwood flowers in the spring and then the foliage turns a dark green for the summer. Come fall, the tree also adds fall color to your landscape as most cultivars leaves turn a dark red. White flowering dogwoods require little maintenance.

Step 1

Water the tree shallowly over the root ball each day for two weeks after planting. After the first week, check the soil moisture by digging a small hole next to the root ball. Take a little soil and squeeze it in your hand. If water drips, you are watering too much. If the soil crumbles, there is not enough water.

Step 2

Irrigate every other day for another two weeks; decrease to twice a week for the rest of the tree's first year. Larger trees and those in full sun need watering twice a week throughout the second year.

Step 3

Spread a 3-inch layer of mulch in a 2-foot diameter per inch of trunk diameter. Increase the diameter as the tree grows. Keep the mulch at least 2 inches away from the trunk. This will keep the area weed free and help to retain moisture.

Step 4

Apply a slow-release fertilizer to the mulch in the area over the root ball. Refer to the manufacturer's directions as to the amount to apply based on the age and size of the tree.

Step 5

Prune some small secondary branches to allow light and air circulation into the tree. You can also prune to shape, although it is not necessary. Cut away dead or damaged branches as needed. Always prune right after the flowers have faded to prevent cutting away the following year's buds.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • Slow-release fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • University of Florida Extension: Flowering Dogwood
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Selection and Care of Dogwoods
  • University of Georgia Cooperative Extension: Growing Dogwood
Keywords: white dogwood care, white flowering dogwood, flowering tree care

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.