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Dogwood Trees: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know

Dogwood Trees are extremely popular all over the world with native varieties in America, Europe, and even Japan. Their large four petal blossoms, with twisting branches and unique gray bark, offer year-round interest and can be used to make a beautiful statement in your landscape.

Dogwood Trees are extremely popular all over the world with native varieties in America, Europe, and even Japan. Their large four petal blossoms, with twisting branches and unique gray bark, offer year-round interest and can be used to make a beautiful statement in your landscape.

However, with so many different types of Dogwood Trees that come in different shapes and sizes, how do you decide which variety is best for your landscape? 

Planning

First of all, ensure you research different varieties to see how large Dogwoods get and take their growing zones and climate preferences into consideration. There are many different varieties that grow large, up to 30 feet tall, stay small around 10 feet, and there are even varieties available in shrub form.

Purpose

Are you looking for an accent tree to complement an existing garden, or do you want your new Dogwood Trees to be the focal point in your landscape? Do you want a stand-alone tree or multiple trees planted in a row for a privacy screen in the summer? If you would like a hedgerow along a property border or close to your home, then a dogwood shrub may be the best option.

Dogwoods also can be used as shade trees. Their large canopies create a nice shaded area beneath them that’s perfect for hanging out. A well-placed tree or two can shade driveways and parts of the home to provide relief from blistering summer heat.

Area and Growth

Dogwoods are pretty versatile and can be planted almost anywhere, including close to structures like homes or sidewalks, and under other larger trees.

Dogwoods

Step out into your landscape and look around. Look for an empty space, or wooded area that could benefit from bursts of color. Once you have an idea about the space you have, you’ll know if a larger or smaller variety will work best and how many to purchase.

Growing Zones

Before purchasing Dogwood Trees, find your growing zone. You don’t want to plant your trees in an area that gets too hot or too cold for them.

Most dogwood varieties are best suited for growing zones 5 through 9, while some are cold hardy up to zone 3. Growing zones are included on every product page.

Critters

In the late fall and winter, Dogwood Trees become covered with ornamental berries that range in color from bright red to dark blue. Birds and smaller animals like squirrels and chipmunks will enjoy feasting on them. If you would like to attract wildlife to your landscape to admire, then Dogwoods are excellent choices for your landscape. They’ll bring Blue Jays, Robins, and Cardinals to your yard. However, if you don’t want animals to be attracted to your landscape, then you may want to consider planting a non-fruiting tree.

*Remember that dogwood berries aren’t toxic but are quite bitter and may irritate the digestive system. They may cause diarrhea or vomiting in pets if they ingest a large amount of berries, but most cats and dogs avoid the berries due to their bitter taste.

 

Existing Plants

Will your new Dogwood Trees fit in with your current landscape? It’s important to visualize how your new dogwood will look in the space before planting it.

Also, consider the blooming color of your tree and ask yourself if it will fit in with your landscape. Will white complement the colors of your other blooming plants, or will pink go with the color of your home? Will yellow clash with your existing garden?

Dogwood Blooms

Fall Color

Dogwood Trees put on colorful floral shows in the spring and in the fall, their leaves create a vibrant show. Some leaves, like the ones of the Celestial Shadow Dogwood, turn shades of light pink to purple, while the Red Dogwood’s leaves turn shades of orange and burgundy.

The Red Twig and Yellow Twig Dogwoods drop all of their leaves, leaving vibrant red and yellow trunks in the landscape.

It’s important to consider if you would like to add traditional fall colors like reds, oranges, and browns to your landscape or if you would like to add unique colors like pinks and purples.

Planting

Once your Dogwood arrives and you’ve mapped out the perfect planting location, dig a hole that’s double the width of the root ball and just as deep. Then take a shovel or pitch fork and loosen the soil around the sides of the hole. Be sure to remove any debris like grass, clumps or rocks from the soil.

Take your fingers and gently comb through the roots to loosen them and then place your tree in the hole. Make sure it’s standing straight up at a 90-degree angle. If you’re unsure if your plant is straight, use a level.

Gently backfill the soil in the hole about half way, then give your tree a slow drink of water with a trickling hose until the soil becomes moist. Then finish filling the hole until the soil becomes level with the ground around it, and give your tree another slow drink of water.

Sprinkle some Root Rocket transplant fertilizer on top of the soil to give the roots a head start. Also, spread a layer of mulch around the base of your tree to help the soil retain moisture, and to keep competing weeds away.

If your area receives a lot of heavy winds, use a tree staking kit to keep your tree in place until the roots become established.

Care

Dogwood Trees are often a popular choice for planting because they are extremely low-maintenance.

They will survive in locations with full sun, as well as partially shaded areas. Dogwood Trees will also survive in dry areas and in wet areas, close to streams and ponds.

Even though Dogwood Trees will adapt to a variety of different soils, ranging from sandy soils to ones heavy with clay, they prefer slightly acidic soil. To find out the pH balance of your soil, you can use a soil tester from your local gardening store.

If you need to increase the acidity of your soil, you can do so by adding organic matter or peat moss to it. Also, you can keep the acidity of your soil by maintaining your layer of mulch around the base of your tree. As the mulch decays, it will add nutrients and acidity to the soil.

Dogwood trees don’t need to be constantly checked on or babied. A little neglect goes a long way for them, actually; so don’t worry about keeping up with a watering schedule. You will only need to water your Dogwoods during prolonged periods of dryness or during droughts. Give them a deep watering to a depth of about 6 inches.

Pruning

Even though Dogwood Trees often don’t need to be pruned unless you would like to shape them, it’s best to prune them in the fall about six weeks before they start dropping their leaves. That will give them plenty of time to heal before they enter dormancy.

Be sure to remove any dead, damaged or diseased branches as soon as you spot them to prevent them from spreading a fungus or disease to the rest of the tree.

Use a clean pair of loppers or hand pruners – you can make sure that they are sterile by cleaning them with rubbing alcohol. Use them to make your cuts at 45-degree angles facing upwards to promote new growth.

Pests and Care Tips

The leaves will actually tell you a lot about how your tree is doing. If the leaves turn brown, start to curl upwards and look like they’re crispy, then your tree isn’t getting enough water. If the leaves turn dark shades of brown or black and droop as if they’re too heavy for the branches, then your tree is receiving too much water.

Dogwood borers are clear winged moths with dark blue to purple bodies and yellow stripes. If they find a crack or hole in the tree, they will lay their eggs on the inside so their larvae can hatch and feast on the inner flesh of the tree. Borers are easy to avoid by keeping your tree healthy and fertilized. However, if you do notice them on your tree, spray the trunk and branches with an all-natural organic pesticide. The organic pesticide will keep the bugs away without harming the tree or environment.

Other pests include scales, which will appear as small black bumps on the branches and leaves, and spider mites that will leave fine webs in the branches and leaves. These bugs can easily be taken care of with an all-natural, organic pesticide spray.

Furthermore, you can use neem oil. Sprays that contain neem oil are made from neem leaves, fruit and seeds. They have a bitter taste and naturally repel pests. You can also make your own pest repellants at home by mixing two parts water and one part soap. Make sure the soap is a gentle cleanser, like Dawn.

Choose Dogwood Trees

One of the most popular flowering trees available, Dogwood Trees are classic and ultra-lush. And did we mention stunning? With these tips, tricks and benefits, you’ll be on your way to instant curb appeal with a Dogwood garden all your own.