How to Care for a Dogwood Tree


The dogwood (Cornus florida) is a deciduous flowering tree native to the eastern United States. Growing to a height of 25 feet, the dogwood is often found in residential landscapes. Because these trees are small, they are sometimes grown under the canopy of larger trees or as a backdrop to coordinating colored flower beds. The dogwood tree blooms early and provides year-round interest with berries and fall foliage late in the season.

Step 1

Grow the dogwood tree in filtered sunlight, in an area with low humidity and sheltered from high winds.

Step 2

Provide 1 inch of water a week during the growing season.

Step 3

Fertilize the tree after it reaches two years of age with a 12-4-8 formula, at the rate suggested on the package, in February and June. Spread the fertilizer in a 100-foot radius around the tree.

Step 4

Add a 3-inch layer of mulch to the soil around the dogwood tree. Keep it 3 inches from the trunk and spread it 8 to 10 feet out. Provide fresh mulch every spring.

Step 5

Prune any suckers (small shoots) that sprout from the trunk below the graft union (swollen area on the lower portion of the tree where it was grafted onto stock). These can generally be snapped off by hand. Larger suckers may require pruning shears for removal.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears


  • North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension: Flowering Dogwood
  • Rutgers University: Dogwood Tree Growing Tips
  • ‭"‬The Gardener's Guide to Planting and Growing Trees‭;" ‬Michael Buffin‭; ‬2007
Keywords: flowering dogwood care, grow flowering dogwood, care of dogwood

About this Author

Victoria Hunter has been a freelance writer since 2005, specializing in gardening-related topics and the real estate industry. She is a former broadcaster and real estate agent who has provided audio and written services to small businesses and large corporations worldwide. She writes for, GardenGuides and ProFlowers, among others. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.