By Jennifer Poindexter
Do you need a flowering tree for your landscape? Have you considered growing a flowering dogwood tree?
These are beautiful trees which are native to the eastern portion of the United States. They’re known for their vibrantly colored flowers which bloom in shades of pink, red, or white. If this sounds like something that would work well for your landscaping goals, be sure you understand how to properly grow and care for this tree prior to planting.
Here’s everything you must know when caring for a flowering dogwood tree:
Growing Conditions for a Flowering Dogwood Tree
If you’re interested in incorporating a flowering dogwood tree into the space around your home, be sure to provide accurate growing conditions.
Without the right conditions, you’re setting this tree up to fail from the start. Therefore, take this information into serious consideration when picking the right growing location for your new tree.
Flowering dogwood trees grow best in areas with full to partial sunlight. They love receiving morning sunlight and afternoon shade.
These trees also prefer to grow in airy soil that drains adequately as they don’t enjoy having oversaturated roots at any time.
Flowering dogwood trees do best when planted along the edge of a wooded area or in groups as this is similar to their natural growing conditions.
When growing in their natural setting, dogwood trees are used to larger trees towering over them as they typically max out at heights around twenty feet tall.
As previously discussed, flowering dogwood trees bloom in pink, red, or white. They produce bright green foliage during the summer, purple foliage during the fall, and red berries over the winter months.
By growing this tree, you’re taking steps to provide color and beauty to your home throughout the year.
How to Plant a Flowering Dogwood Tree
When growing flowering dogwood trees, people do one of two things: purchase a tree from a local nursery or propagate new trees from cuttings of mature trees.
Should you choose to purchase a flowering dogwood tree, be sure to plant it during the later portion of fall or the early portion of spring.
Pick a location which meets all the growing criteria mentioned above. From there, dig a hole that holds approximately 75% of the tree’s root ball.
Place the tree in the hole and begin backfilling it. As mentioned, the entire root ball won’t fit into this hole.
When the hole is filled, begin mounding soil over the remainder of the root ball. Water the tree deeply and press firmly on the soil to ensure it’s compact enough to support the tree.
The other option to growing flowering dogwood trees is to propagate via cutting. You should practice this method during the spring after all blooming has ceased.
Remove a cutting that’s approximately a half foot in length. If the cutting snaps in two, it’s ready for propagation.
When removing a cutting from a mature tree, be sure to cut it right below a set of leaves. It’s wise to take more cuttings than you need as some of them won’t root.
Also, as you’re removing cuttings, be sure to keep them damp by misting them with a spray bottle or placing a damp towel over them.
After you have all the cuttings you need, be sure to remove any leaves from the bottoms. Dip the cuttings into rooting hormone and plant in well-draining soil.
Keep the soil evenly damp and wrap the pot in plastic to create a greenhouse effect. Ensure the soil remains damp and check the cutting for roots once every seven days.
In approximately four weeks, the cutting should have a root system in the works. At this point, you may remove the plastic and place the new plant in a sunny location.
Continue to supply moisture, so the soil never fully dries out. Repot the cutting as needed until it’s mature enough to move to its permanent outdoor growing location.
These are the two main methods gardeners use when growing flowering dogwood trees. Pick the method you’re most comfortable with to start growing your new tree.
Caring for a Flowering Dogwood Tree
Flowering dogwood trees aren’t particularly needy. They have a few basic things they must receive from you to thrive.
If you can cover these areas, your tree should do fine under your care. The first thing you should provide this tree is water.
When watering a flowering dogwood tree it’s best to practice the deep watering method. Water the trees for longer periods of time, fewer days of the week.
This waters the tree to its roots and also saturates the ground surrounding it. As the days progress, and the tree needs more water, it will dig deeper into the earth to retrieve it.
In the process, this creates a deeper root system which should create a healthier plant as well.
Once you have your watering routine in place, be sure to provide a layer of mulch around the tree. It’s important that the mulch isn’t mounded up the tree as this leads to volcano mulching which isn’t healthy for the plant.
It can actually lead to rotting issues. However, if the mulch is applied correctly, it will help the tree retain necessary moisture.
You will also need to stake the flowering dogwood tree when it needs support to encourage the tree to grow straight and avoid breakage.
Pruning is another need for this plant. You should prune to help the tree maintain its shape, remove any diseased portions of the tree, and also to remove dead parts of the tree.
It’s best to prune the tree during summer. This is the time of year when it won’t “bleed” sap. If you prune in the other portions of the year, the tree might drip sap which causes an undesired mess.
The one thing you shouldn’t need to do for the flowering dogwood tree is provide fertilizer as it should be able to pull the desired nutrients from its surroundings.
By providing these basic care items, you’re giving your flowering dogwood tree what it needs to be able to thrive while growing near your home.
Garden Pests and Diseases Which Might Impact Your Flowering Dogwood Tree
Unfortunately, battling pests and diseases is just part of the process when growing plants around your home or garden.
Nature has its issues which tend to attack the things we love to grow. In the case of the flowering dogwood tree, there are a few pests and diseases which commonly impact this tree.
The most common pests to the dogwood tree are aphids, whiteflies, scales, caterpillars, ambrosia beetles, and dogwood twig borers. All these pests can be treated with an insecticide.
Ambrosia beetles don’t always respond to an insecticide, so it’s best to deter these pests all together by keeping your tree healthy. The best thing to do is ensure your flowering dogwood tree isn’t stressed by injury, periods of drought, or lack of nutrition.
The diseases which most commonly impact this tree are powdery mildew, cankers, blight, root rot, and leaf spot.
All of these issues are fungal based which means they can be treated with a fungicide but prevention is key.
The best way to keep fungal issues at bay is by planting in well-draining soil, ensuring your tree is pruned so it can receive proper airflow around it, and also planting in areas with plenty of light to ensure the soil isn’t damp and cold.
Cold, wet soil is where most fungal diseases begin, so if you avoid your tree living in these conditions, you should be able to keep fungal issues under control.
These are the issues you may face when growing a flowering dogwood tree. Be vigilant and treat these issues as early as possible, should they arise, to reduce the amount of damage done to your tree.
You now know how to grow, care for, and protect a flowering dogwood tree. Taking on the task of growing a new tree can feel a bit overwhelming.
However, if you take things one step at a time, you should be enjoying this plant’s gorgeous foliage, flowers, and berries soon. This information should help you to have a better understanding of what the tree needs and hopefully, this equates to a positive gardening experience for you.