One of America’s most popular ornamental trees for centuries, Washington and Jefferson both planted it. Native from Massachusetts to Florida and Texas. Was used by native Americans for medicines and dyes. The wood is very hard and used for golf club heads, mallets, tool handles and butcher blocks. The flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) is the species we think of when the word dogwood is mentioned, but there are two other species, kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) and Cornelian cherry dogwood (Cornus mas) found in landscapes.
Culture for Flowering Dogwood
Does best in moist, well-drained, acidic soil (pH 5.5 – 6.0) high in organic matter, with morning sun and afternoon shade. It does not do well when exposed to intense heat. A good choice to plant near utility lines, next to buildings or patios.
Concerns about Flowering Dogwood
Adequate soil moisture is important during dry periods due to its shallow roots. These may be some of the first trees to succumb to drought injury if not mulched and watered. Susceptible to mower and trimmer damage. Competes poorly with turf. Anthracnose and powdery mildew are the main plant health care concerns. Stressed trees also become vulnerable to borers.
Management Practices for Flowering Dogwood
Expose root flares and mulch a large area around the tree to help retain moisture and prevent mechanical damage from lawn mowers and trimmers. Fertilize based on soil sample. Prune water sprouts to reduce infection from dogwood anthracnose.