Care of Pink Dogwood Tree

Overview

Pink dogwood is one of the common names for Cornus florida and is also called a flowering dogwood. Regardless of the name, this plant is a knockout ornamental tree. Typically, the flowers are white, but a dogwood with pink flowers is coveted by garden enthusiasts. There are many pink flowering varieties. Try the cultivar Prairie Pink or Cherokee Chief for a beautiful show of color. The cultivar Andy Hart is a good compact selection. Dogwoods love dappled sunlight or a part-shade situation. They will grow if given plenty of water and protection from strong winter winds.

Step 1

Dig a hole in a partly shaded location using your shovel. Make sure the hole is 1 1/2 times as wide as the root ball or container holding your pink dogwood. The depth of the hole should be equal to depth of the root ball or container. Excavate the soil from the hole and place to the side, saving for future use. Make sure the edges of the hole are rough. The bottom of the hole should be firm and compact, so the root ball won't settle too far into the ground.

Step 2

Remove the container or string holding the root ball together. If the tree is balled and burlapped, remove the wire basket surrounding the roots, clip off the top of the basket, but leave the sides intact. Make sure there is no string or twine wrapped around the trunk of the tree; this will cause strangulation if left in place.

Step 3

Place the plant in the hole, making certain to match the flare of the trunk to the existing grade. Make certain the plant is not too deep in the hole because this will cause water to settle around the base of the plant, inviting poor health and disease.

Step 4

Mix the 50/50 compost mix with the topsoil. Place the mixture in the hole around the tree roots, gently tamping down until the tree is secure in its hole and there are no large air pockets left around the plant.

Step 5

Trickle water around the base of the tree with a slow and steady stream to ensure that the new soil isn't washed out of the hole. Water the tree until the new soil is saturated to the point where it does not drain immediately into the soil.

Step 6

Spread mulch around the base of the tree to a depth of 4 to 6 inches and to a width that matches the new tree canopy. Do not pile the mulch around the base of the tree trunk; this will invite water damage, rot and pests. Pull the mulch about 2 to 3 inches away from the trunk. Level the mulch and tamp into place by lightly stepping on the newly applied surface.

Step 7

Check the soil on the daily basis; if possible, use a water meter to determine the water content in the soil. Make sure the plant is kept evenly moist but not waterlogged. When the plant is established, water less frequently or only when drought persists. Fertilize your newly planted dogwood once in the spring and once in the summer. Do not fertilize going into the fall months because this will create new growth that will be killed with the first frost. Prune dogwoods only when absolutely necessary as their wounds are slow to heal.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wearing safety glasses, steel toe boots and garden gloves while planting and caring for your dogwood can reduce unneccesary injury when planting.

Things You'll Need

  • Pink dogwood tree
  • 50/50 mix compost
  • Topsoil
  • Fertilizer
  • Shovel
  • Water source
  • Mulch

References

  • Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, Michael Dirr; 1975
  • Tree and Shrub Handbook, The Morton Arboretum; 1999
Keywords: Flowering Dogwood, Cornus florida, Pink Flowering Dogwood

About this Author

Nanette Alton is a registered landscape architect in Michigan, employed by the Michigan Department of Transportation and formerly a landscape architect for Michigan State University where she learned horticulture and landscape design from plant and design experts. Alton earned a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Michigan State University and studied design at Tunghai University in Taichung, Taiwan.