Dogwood trees, valued for their beautiful spring flowers, come in two primary species, Cornus florida and Cornus kousa. It is characterized as a deciduous tree, which means it will shed its leaves annually.
The dogwood trees are small trees great for residential areas. They typically range from 20’ to 25’ tall and 15’ to 20’ wide. The Cornus florida species is the taller of the two most popular species reaching up to 30’.
Typically, the Cornus florida will bloom first from about April 15 to May 15. This is the dogwood that often comes to mind first, with its pink flowers. The Cornus kousa will bloom after its leaves start to appear, usually in June, and most commonly has white flowers. However, unlike other trees, the dogwood flower is not a typically flower, but a bract (modified leaf). In fact, the true flower is very small and uninteresting. Since the range in color spans from white to nearly red, it is recommended you pick a tree while in bloom so you know you are choosing the exact color you desire.
Care and Location
Dogwood trees need to be protected for the midday heat and planted in partial shade. It thrives best in well-drained, rich soil in hardiness zones 5-8. The importance of well-drained soil should not be overlooked! More dogwood trees have succumbed to root rot than any other disturbance. Plant these trees in an area that constantly receives water, like in the direct line of the lawn sprinkler. It also grows best on mounds.
Thankfully, aside from the constant water-source, these trees are relatively low maintenance. They need minimal pruning and even less as they age. Simply fertilize in the spring with a high phosphorus, low nitrogen fertilizer and you’re good to go.