How to Prune Pink Dogwood


The pink dogwood, Cornus florida rubra, can reach heights and spreads of 25 feet. The tree requires very little pruning as its canopy grows in a natural, symmetrical, dome-shape. However, it may require pruning if limbs become diseased or damaged, or if you wish to thin the branches to allow more light and air circulation. Pruning should be done during the tree's dormant season, winter or early spring.

Step 1

Remove small branches of around 1 inch with hand pruning scissors. Branches over 1 inch can be removed with a hand-saw.

Step 2

Inspect the tree for damaged, dead or unhealthy limbs and cut them off. Make the cutting flush with the tree's trunk or the main branch from which it grows.

Step 3

Cut any low-hanging branches that are within 12 to 18 inches off the ground. This will help to protect the tree from pests and soil-borne disease.

Step 4

Cut and remove any branches that are rubbing against each other.

Step 5

Promote air and light circulation by cutting away secondary branches off of main branches.

Step 6

Water your tree after pruning as pruned dogwoods undergo stress and will need extra water to heal.

Step 7

Avoid fertilizing in the month after pruning as it can shock the tree.

Step 8

Speed recovery by adding nutrients to the soil. Spread a 2-inch layer of compost around the tree. Add a 2-inch layer of bark over the compost to protect the compost and to keep it in place.

Tips and Warnings

  • If your pink dogwood needs pruned because it is touching or growing near power lines, ask a professional to come in to do the pruning for you. Seal cuts by spraying them with black spray paint.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning scissors
  • Garden saw
  • Black spray paint
  • Compost
  • Mulch


  • North Carolina State University: Flowering Dogwood
  • U.S. Forest Service: Maintenance of Established Trees

Who Can Help

  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Flowering Dogwood
Keywords: prune pink dogwood, pruning flowering dogwoods, pruning dogwood trees

About this Author

Joyce Maxwell is a writer and editor for print and online markets. She pursued a Bachelor of Arts in English with a psychology minor at a southern university. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, as well as being picked up by health and education groups. Maxwell is a writer and title flagger for Demand Studios.