How Do I Care for My Dogwood Tree?


The dogwood tree is a small- to medium-sized tree that can reach heights from 15 to 30 feet. This deciduous tree has a naturally rounded crown with a relatively short trunk. It produces rich green foliage that is complemented by showy white and pink spring blooms. Its foliage turns to hues of red and purple in the fall. Hardy to USDA zones 5 through 9, this tender tree thrives in partially shaded locations but can tolerate full sunlight.

Step 1

Irrigate your young dogwood tree once a week throughout the growing season. Increase the irrigation levels during hot, dry summer periods, as the dogwood is intolerant to drought conditions. Provide the tree with a deep irrigation to allow the water to reach at least 2 to 3 feet below the surface.

Step 2

Protect your dogwood's soil moisture levels. Apply a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch around the diameter of the tree that extends out to the drip line. Keep the mulch at least 1 foot away from the base of the trunk to prevent root rot.

Step 3

Remove weeds from the dogwood's area, as they appear, to prevent competition with the tree. Pull the weeds by hand to ensure the roots are also removed. This will prevent the weed from growing back.

Step 4

Begin fertilizing your dogwood during its second year. Feed your dogwood in the early spring and again in the midsummer. Use a well-balanced, slow-release fertilizer, such as a 12-12-12 or 10-10-10 combination. Water the dogwood thoroughly after the fertilizer is applied.

Step 5

Prune your dogwood to maintain the tree's healthy state. Use sharp, sterile pruning shears to remove any dead, dying or damaged branches or twigs. Complete the pruning during the dormancy period.

Step 6

Treat your tree with an insecticide spray that is designed to prevent dogwood borers, twig borers and other dogwood insects. Apply one treatment in the spring and reapply according to the pesticide directions.

Step 7

Inspect your dogwood regularly for signs of disease. Inspect the foliage for things such as powdery mildew, leaf spots and discoloration. Look for cankers and galls on the trunk and branches. Treat diseases immediately to avoid permanent injury or damage to the tree. Speak with your local nursery or horticultural specialist for assistance in diagnosing your dogwood's adverse health.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears
  • Water


  • Floridata: Cornus Florida
  • Rosedale Nurseries: The Rosedale Plantman's Guide to Caring for Flowering Dogwoods
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Selection and Care of Dogwoods
Keywords: dogwood tree care, caring for dogwood, growing dogwood trees

About this Author

Charmayne Smith is a business professional and freelance writer. She has worked in management for successful organizations since 1994. Smith draws on her business background to write articles, and her work has appeared in a variety of online outlets. She holds a degree in business from Cleveland State University.