The flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) is native to much of the eastern United States. It can grow up to 25 feet, and displays its flowers in late March. Although the dogwood rarely needs pruning, it does need some regular maintenance to produce the most blossoms. Prune a flowering dogwood in late winter when it is dormant as pruning in the spring may leave the dogwood susceptible to dogwood borers.
Remove any branches that are dead, injured, or diseased. You may remove these branches at any time throughout the year. After removing these branches, be sure they are destroyed to help control any pest infestation or disease.
Provide quality air circulation around your dogwood by removing any low-growing branches with hand shears or lopping shears, depending on the size of the branches.
Avoid cutting the branch collar when making cuts, but be sure to cut down to the collar without leaving a large stub. The "branch collar" is the bark ridge that separates the branch from the tree trunk.
Keep your dogwood well-mulched with a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch, extending 8- to 10-feet from the base. The mulch should be kept 3 inches away from the tree trunk.
Transplant your dogwood in late fall or early spring, if necessary, to provide the optimum location to produce the most flowers. A dogwood prefers a location that receives afternoon shade. Dogwoods that are planted in the shade will not reach their flowering potential.