Dogwood trees are known for the blossoms that emerge in the spring. However, according to the University of Georgia, “the showy part of a dogwood flower is actually bracts, which are modified leaves that turn color. The true flower parts in the center of the bracts are less showy.” Dogwood trees grow best in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9 and can reach mature heights up to 30 feet with 35-foot spreads. Select dogwood varieties suited for your specific location for best results.
Select a location for the dogwood trees that provides partial shade and rich, well-draining soil. Allow enough room for the full mature height of the dogwood trees, and space the trees as far apart as the expected spread (at maturity). This can vary from 15 to 30 feet, depending on variety. Inquire about the spread when you purchase the dogwood trees.
Cultivate an area for planting each dogwood tree that is five times the width of the rootball and the same depth. Create a hole in the center the same depth of the rootball.
Carefully remove one of the dogwood trees from the container and loosen or untangle roots, if needed. Cut off any broken or frail roots. Place the dogwood tree in the hole and make sure it is at the same level it was in the container. Backfill the hole with the removed soil, and gently pack soil to get rid of any air pockets. Drench with water to settle soil around dogwood tree, and add more soil if needed to cover rootball. Repeat the process for the other dogwood tree.
Cover the region extending farther out than each of the dogwood tree’s canopies with 3 to 4 inches of organic matter, compost or mulch. Keep the area next to the tree trunks clear. The dogwood tree’s roots will spread beyond the canopy region, so adding this layer will provide vital nutrients, moist conditions and insulation from the temperature changes.
Supply 1 inch of water weekly to each of the two dogwood trees throughout the growing season, if rainfall does not. Use a soaker hose early in the day, and water to a depth of 6 inches.
Things You Will Need
- Motorized tiller (optional)
- Organic matter
- Soaker hose
- Pruning shears
- Prune dogwoods only as needed to remove weak, broken or diseased branches, and any suckers or low branches emerging on the trunks. Allow the growing dogwood trees to form a natural shape.
- Do not fertilize the newly planted dogwood trees until the second growing season. Dogwood trees prefer organic fertilizers to chemical types. If you use chemical fertilizers, apply sparingly as directed on the label.
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