How to Care for Pink Dogwood


The pink dogwood (Cornus florida 'Rubra') is a small- to medium-sized tree that grows to 25 feet tall and wide with a rounded canopy. The pink dogwood tree has oval-shaped, 3- to 6-inch-long, dark green leaves and blooms in pink flowers during mid to late spring. The round flowers bloom profusely, covering the branches while the leaves are first emerging. The pink dogwood also produces glossy red, berry-like fruits that ripen in autumn and are loved by many species of birds. Pink dogwood trees grow best in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 9, tolerating winter temperatures that dip to minus 15 degrees F.

Step 1

Water your pink dogwood tree lightly each day for the first two to three weeks after planting. Afterward, water the pink dogwood deeply and thoroughly twice a week for the first year. For established dogwoods, water deeply once a week during the spring, summer and autumn when rainfall is less than an inch.

Step 2

Spread a 3-inch-thick layer of mulch in a circle on the ground around the pink dogwood tree, keeping the mulch 1 to 2 inches away from the trunk. Make the mulch ring 2 feet in diameter for every inch of trunk diameter.

Step 3

Apply a slow-release tree fertilizer to the young pink dogwood tree in the first spring, at half the normal dosage. Established dogwood trees don't need regular fertilization.

Step 4

Prune away all dead, diseased or damaged growth from the pink dogwood tree in early spring. You can also thin out some of the branches to make the canopy more open if desired.

Step 5

Treat your pink dogwood tree for insect infestations, particularly by the Dogwood Borer, which lays its eggs in the trunk and hatches into tiny larvae. The larvae bore into the bark and feed on the wood. Treat the tree with an approved insecticide to control the infestation.

Tips and Warnings

  • Beware of twig borers and club gall infesting your pink dogwood tree. Twig borers are larvae that bore into the twigs, causing the leaves to wilt and turn brown at the ends of the branches. During late spring and early summer, club gall midges create round growths or "galls" at the ends of young shoots. Control twig borer and club gall problems in your pink dogwood by pruning off and destroying all infested growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Mulch
  • Slow-release tree fertilizer
  • Pruning tools
  • Insecticide (optional)


  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Flowering Dogwood
  • Arbor Day Foundation: Dogwood, Pink -- Cornus florida 'Rubra'

Who Can Help

  • University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service: Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)
Keywords: pink dogwood care, Cornus florida rubra, pink dogwood tree

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.