How to Grow a Dogwood Tree


Dogwood trees, native to the eastern part of the United States, are a common sight in lawns and other landscaped areas. Dozens of species exist, but the most common in the United States is the Cornus florida, according to the National Gardening Association. Many dogwoods are flowering trees, producing white, red and pink blooms in late spring and early summer. To grow a dogwood tree, select a location with well-draining soil.

Step 1

Select a site for planting your dogwood tree. Dogwoods tolerate full sun but often grow best in a location where they receive partial shade from larger trees, according to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Dogwoods prefer a moist and rich soil, but will not grow in soil that is saturated due to of poor draining.

Step 2

Dig a hole as deep as your tree's root ball and two to three times as wide. If you have poor-quality soil, add compost or other organic matter to the soil that was dug up and mix it until well blended.

Step 3

Remove the tree from the container it was purchased in. If it is in a plastic pot, cut it away carefully, taking caution not to damage the tree's roots. If your tree is wrapped in burlap, unwrap it carefully.

Step 4

Place the tree in the hole, setting it down firmly but gently. The roots should be allowed to spread out naturally so they are not broken or damaged.

Step 5

Fill in the hole halfway with the surrounding soil. Use your hands of feet to pack it down firmly to remove any air bubbles.

Step 6

Fill the hole with water and allow it to be absorbed by the soil.

Step 7

Fill in the rest of the hole, again packing it down firmly with your hands or feet.

Step 8

Water the tree again to remove any pockets of air in the soil. Regular watering is important for young dogwood trees, especially in the first two years, according to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Water the tree thoroughly once of twice a week when rainfall is scarce. Dogwoods should get at least 1 inch of water per week.

Step 9

Create a ridge of soil to form a berm around the tree's trunk. Use your hands to form the remaining soil into a ridge.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost or other organic material
  • Scissors or pruning tools


  • University of Georgia Cooperative Extension: Growing Dogwood
  • National Gardening Association: Dogwood
Keywords: growing dogwood trees, planting dogwood trees, dogwood trees

About this Author

Meghan McMahon lives in the Chicago suburbs, where she spent six years as a newspaper journalist before becoming a part-time freelance writer and editor and full-time mother. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University in 2000 and has written for "The Daily Southtown" and "The Naperville Sun" in suburban Chicago.