The Propagation of Dogwood Trees

Overview

Dogwood trees are known for their small, yellow-green flowers surrounded by showy white or pink bracts. In the fall, the foliage turns a deep purplish-red. Bright red fruits add interest and ripen to produce viable seeds. The small fruits grow in clusters and are eaten by birds. Each berry contains one large seed.

Function

Propagation is the act of creating a new plant from a piece of an old one. Sexually, dogwood is propagated through seed. Asexual methods of propagating dogwood trees include rooting cuttings and layering.

Propagation by Seed

Dogwood trees produce small fruits containing seeds. In areas with cold winters, seed can be collected and planted directly into the soil in the fall. Soak seeds in water for one or two days, removing any seeds that float to the top. Remove the fruit pulp and plant immediately. Seeds planted in the fall will sprout in the spring.

Propagation by Cuttings

Dogwood trees can be propagated by softwood and semi-hardwood cuttings. Cuttings from the tip of new growth are best, but cuttings from partially mature wood can be taken in late summer or early fall. Remove the bottom leaves and coat the bottom third of the cutting with rooting hormone. Insert it into moist sand and place it in a high-humidity environment until the cuttings take roots.

Propagation by Layering

Layering is a method of rooting a small branch while it is still attached to the tree. The University of Kentucky Extension recommends beginning the layering process in the spring or summer. Make a long cut upward about a quarter to halfway through the branch of a healthy dogwood tree. Stuff the opening with sphagnum moss to hold it open. Apply rooting hormone around the cut and cover the area with moist sphagnum moss. Tie the moss into place with twine and cover with plastic wrap. Keep the moss moist until the branch takes root, then sever it from the tree and plant it in a small container of potting mix.

Considerations

Dogwood trees are best propagated by seed. The seeds of dogwood trees require cold stratification before planting for successful germination. This is naturally achieved by planting the seeds in the fall in cold climates. In warm areas, store seeds in moist sand or peat moss in the refrigerator until planting in the spring. Propagation by cuttings or layering requires skill and care, but is generally successful.

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About this Author

Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and content around the web. Watkins has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.