The flowering dogwood is a deciduous tree that grows up to 33 feet tall and requires very little care. It is native to eastern North America and is grown primarily for its showy flowers and attractive shape. The tree blooms in early spring with white flowers. Dogwoods produce a small, red berry in late summer that attracts birds. These berries distribute the seed of the dogwood tree. The tree does not respond well to rough handling and can be susceptible to disease.
Add a 6-inch layer of mulch at the base of the dogwood tree. Mulch will hold in moisture and control weeds. Dogwoods require plenty of water during spring and summer. Adding a layer of mulch will protect the tree from injury due to mowing. You can also add 2 to 4 inches of organic compost early in the spring instead of fertilizing. Use crushed leaves, peat moss or shredded bark or wood chips. Renew the mulch when the depth is less than 2 inches. As the mulch decomposes it will add nutrients into the soil.
Water your dogwood with at least an inch of water per week. If it has rained there is no need to add additional water. Water the tree with 2 to 3 inches of water during extremely dry periods. Do not allow the soil to get completely dry.
Apply a half pound, per inch of trunk diameter, of water-soluble nitrogen fertilizer to the base of the tree in early spring. Use a 6-66-200 fertilizer. Once leaves appear in the spring, add the fertilizer on the ground at least 1.5 feet past the length of the branches.
Prune your dogwood tree in the winter months while it is dormant. Remove all dead and diseased limbs and any weak limbs that are in the way of growth of healthier limbs. The dogwood can be pruned immediately after it flowers in the spring.
Pull any weeds that appear around the base of the tree to avoid any damage to shallow roots.