Dogwood Tree Maintenance


The dogwood tree, commonly known as the flowering dogwood, is native to the eastern United States. It is the state tree of Virginia. The dogwood grows up to 35 feet in height with a crown spread of up to 25 feet. The next year's buds form in July of the year before, so take care if you prune the dogwood not to prune after mid June to early July. The flowers have white bracts that surround a group of tiny yellow flowers.

Step 1

Test the soil pH every year. The pH should be between 5.0 and 6.5. If the pH is off, amend the soil with lime if the soil is too acidic or compost if the soil is too neutral.

Step 2

Prune the dogwood to help keep its shape if your tree is in an area that gets full sun. The dogwood branches tend to grow upward in the sun and spread out (wider) in the shade. Prune before mid June to ensure that you do not prune next year's bud. You should also prune each spring for dead and decaying wood and plant matter. Remove and discard all pruned or fallen plant matter so as not to encourage disease and pests.

Step 3

Fertilize the dogwood once every three years, unless a soil test shows that nutrients are missing from the soil. If fertilizing once every three years, use an all-around, flowering shrub and tree fertilizer. If you must fertilize more often because the soil lacks nutrients, use a fertilizer based in the lacking nutrient.

Step 4

Water the dogwood with at least an inch of water twice per week, unless your area provides enough rainfall. Dogwoods are not drought tolerant, especially during the first year after transplanting. Check soil moisture during the first few months after transplanting by digging a small hole near the dogwood (just outside the rootball). Squeeze the soil. If water drips, the soil is too moist. If the soil crumbles, the soil is too dry. After the first year, you can water once per week in the cooler seasons, but might need to increase watering during the hot, summer months if the soil is too dry between waterings.

Step 5

Check the dogwood frequently for pests and diseases. The dogwood is susceptible to twig borers, the dogwood borer and club gall. Look for the larvae and the adults. Treat as directed by the nursery. The club gall is controlled by pruning the twigs affected by the insect. Several diseases, including spot anthracnose affect the dogwood. Watch for diseases. Contact a nursery for the appropriate fungicide for the type of disease you see on the dogwood.


  • University of Florida: Flowering Dogwood
Keywords: dogwood, flowering dogwood, dogwood maintenance

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Cayden Conor is a family law paralegal who writes on various subjects including dogs, cockatoos and cooking. She has over 15 years of experience as a paralegal, and has been writing professionally for three years. Conor has a paralegal degree and majored in criminology, computer science (programming emphasis) and education.