How to Grow Dogwood Trees Transplanted From Suckers


Growing Dogwood trees (Cornus florida) transplanted from suckers is a challenging gardening project that takes over a year to complete. Selection of a healthy mother tree and a strong sucker that is a minimum of 2-feet tall is important to success. Dogwood trees prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH range from 5.2 to 6.0 levels in a partially shady location. Select a location on the east or north side of the home to guard against direct afternoon sun, recommends the Alabama Cooperative Extension.

Step 1

Sever the root connections between the mother dogwood tree and the sucker tree with a sharp gardening spade during the dormancy period of the mother tree. The cuts should be made 2- to 3-inches from the intended place to later dig up the suckling, advises the Alabama Cooperative Extension.

Step 2

Wait until the first growing season after one year to dig up the sucker. Create a root ball that is 1-foot in diameter by digging around the dogwood sucker. Dig deeply and slowly to disturb the roots a minimal amount.

Step 3

Lay a large piece of burlap on the ground next to the suckling. Lift the suckling out of the hole you previously dug by the root ball. Place the suckling on the burlap. Wrap the burlap tightly around the root ball, and tie to secure it.

Step 4

Dig a new hole in the desired location for the dogwood suckling. Make certain the hole is a minimum 24-inches deep.

Step 5

Place the dogwood suckling into the hole, including the burlap bag. Untie the burlap bag and bunch together around the bottom of the root ball. Cover the burlap bag with dirt dug from the hole. Fill the hole with additional dirt to secure and plant the dogwood suckling.

Step 6

Insert a stake in the ground several inches away from the dogwood. Tie the dogwood to the stake to provide support.

Step 7

Spread a 3- to 4-inch layer of pine straw or leaves around the base of the dogwood as mulch.

Step 8

Water the base of the dogwood tree until the ground is soaked. Wait fifteen minutes. Repeat this step.

Tips and Warnings

  • Make the transplant in the spring when the trees are out of dormancy and the last chance of frost has passed.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp gardening spade
  • Burlap with ties
  • Shovel
  • Stake
  • Ties
  • Pine straw or dried leaves
  • Water


  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Selection and Care of Dogwoods
Keywords: dogwood tree sucker, grow dogwood tree, dogwood tree growing

About this Author

Lisha Smith writes for several blogs and has freelanced for six years. She has a Bachelor of Arts from UNC-Greensboro in psychology. Smith has self-published several books. Her areas of experience include gardening, cooking, home improvement, pets and mental health.