How to Feed Dogwood Trees


Flowering dogwood trees produce abundant white or pink blooms in spring, followed by green foliage throughout summer. In fall the leaves turn a brilliant red and the trees produce small fruits, called drupes, in clusters. Dogwoods thrive in shaded areas, near the fringes of other taller trees or in the shade of buildings. Dogwoods are a low-maintenance ornamental tree, rarely require pruning and have few requirements once established. These trees are sensitive to over-fertilization, so you must properly feed the dogwood for it to thrive in the landscape.

Step 1

Feed the tree beginning in the second year after planting and when it is at least 6-feet tall. Avoid fertilizing in the first year, as feeding unestablished trees can damage or kill them.

Step 2

Apply 1/4 cup 12-4-8 analysis fertilizer in in February. Apply the fertilizer in around the trunk, beginning application at the halfway mark between the trunk and the outermost edge of the leaf canopy and spreading it out over 100 square feet. Sprinkle the fertilizer on top the mulch, if applicable. Repeat this application in mid-June.

Step 3

Feed fully grown, established dogwoods in both February and June. Apply 1 cup of fertilizer per each inch of trunk diameter. Cover the same 100 square foot area that is fertilized with younger trees.

Step 4

Water the tree after fertilization. Immediate irrigation leeches fertilizer into the soil where the tree's roots can benefit from it.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not fertilize dogwoods that are water-stressed or recovering from insect or disease infestation. Wait until the tree is healthy to resume fertilization.

Things You'll Need

  • 12-4-8 fertilizer


  • North Dakota State University: Flowering Dogwood
  • University of Florida Extension: Flowering Dogwood
Keywords: feeding dogwood trees, fertilizing flowering dogwood, ornamental tree care

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.