How to Fertilize a Dogwood Tree


Fertilizing dogwoods correctly can be difficult. Different stages in the tree's life require different amounts of fertilizer. Overfertilization can kill young trees and reduce flowering in mature trees. If you fertilize too late in the year, tender new growth will not survive the winter.

Step 1

Rake mulch from under the tree. The fertilizer must make contact with the soil.

Step 2

Sprinkle 1 tbsp. of 12-4-8 or 16-4-8 fertilizer around dogwoods 12 to 24 inches tall. Apply the fertilizer 1 to 2 feet from the trunk.

Step 3

Sprinkle 4 tbsp., or 1/4 cup, of fertilizer around dogwoods between 24 inches and 6 feet tall. Apply the fertilizer 2 to 3 feet from the trunk.

Step 4

Sprinkle 1/2 lb., or 1 cup, of fertilizer for every inch of trunk diameter for dogwoods that are taller than 6 feet but have not reached their mature height. Measure trunk diameter 4 feet above the ground. Apply the fertilizer 4 feet from the trunk to 3 or 4 feet past the drip line (where the tips of the branches end).

Step 5

Sprinkle 1/4 lb., or 1/2 cup, of fertilizer for every inch of trunk diameter for mature dogwoods. Measure trunk diameter and apply the fertilizer as you would in Step 5.

Step 6

Reapply the mulch around your tree.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not fertilize dogwood trees after July. New growth stimulated by the fertilizer may not have time to harden off (become woody) before winter.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • 12-4-8 or 16-4-8 fertilizer
  • Tablespoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Scale
  • Measuring tape
  • Mulch


  • North Carolina State University: Cultivating Dogwood Trees
  • Master Nurseries: Growing Dogwoods
  • "Taylor's Master Guide to Gardening;" Houghton Mifflin Co.; 1994

Who Can Help

  • University of Georgia Extension: Pests and Diseases of Dogwoods
Keywords: fertilizing dogwood trees, how to fertilize a dogwood tree, dogwood trees