Dogwood Tree

Dogwood Tree

Scientific classification

Kingdom:      Plantae
(unranked):   Angiosperms
(unranked):   Eudicots
(unranked):   Asterids
Order:   Cornales
Family:        Cornaceae
Genus:           Cornus
Subgenus:      Benthamidia
Species:          C. kousa
Binomial name: Cornus kousa

The dogwood tree is one of the trees preferred by homemakers for decoration, we owe our gratitude for its appealing outlook throughout the year and its moderate build. Further, when you learn about the whereabouts of these dogwood trees, then it is just a song to nurture these appealing trees.

In the group of Cornaceae, the Cornus genus belongs to the genus of around 30 – 60 varieties of plants that are woody, and they are generally called Dogwoods.  Most  of these trees come under the classification of trees or  deciduous shrubs,  whereas some varieties are almost subordinate shrubs that are perennial herbs. Some of the varieties that are woody are evergreen types.


The leaves of the dogwoods are not toothed having clear curved veins towards its margin of the leaves. The majority of the dogwood varieties’ leaves is placed in the opposite direction, but some of them like the Cornus Alternifolia and C.Ccontroversa’s leaves are placed alternately.

The flowers of the dogwood possess four portions. Most of the varieties have flowers that  bloom separately (but mostly thick) in bunches, whereas in many of the other varieties (like the Blooming Dogwood), the blossoms are on their own closely bunched, do not exhibit the petals, but are enclosed by 4-6 big, typical bracts that resemble petals.

In other words, some of the species feature unobtrusive flowers with small heads that an involucres (Whol-like appearance) of petal like white bracts surround. On the other hand, many other species display petal bearing flowers in an open cluster.

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They are the inhabitants of eastern regions of the U.S., starting from Central Florida to New England.  It is described as the most appealing inhabitant tree of the continent of North America. The state flower of Virginia and North Carolina is Blossom.


Soil for Planting

Dogwood trees like soil that is well drained, rich with nutrients and limited supply of sunlight.  Since these trees develop in the environment below the story trees, they favor shade of the noon to protect themselves from the burning heat of the sun. In order to thrive well they need soil that is rich in organic matter. Adequate supply of nourishment and concern for these plants will make them flourish.  Regularly prune them, supply fertilizers and water, thus they will remain healthy and tolerate harsh conditions of attack of insects and diseases.


Dogwood Tree

Photo by: Frank Vincentz

The best time to plant them is during the fall or spring. Plant them at a distance of 6 to 20 feet. This depends on how big they are supposed to grow when fully mature. Make a hole 2 or 3 times the width of the root ball and as deep as the root ball. In case your soil lacks nutrients,  supplement the soil that you dug out with a little quantity of compost.  If you cannot do this, do not supplement it. Take care while separating the tree from the vessel and positioning it in the hole. Pack up the hole with soil till the root ball is semi filled. Then pack up the soil and pour water well. Later, fill up the hole with the left over soil and water once again. Make an elevated edge of the soil along the outer rim of the hole so that it holds up the water.

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During summer, if the rainfall is below 1” every week, then water the plants. Once the plants have settled,  then prune them a little.

Flowering and Maturing

The local trees (Cornus Florida), grow up to 20-30 feet only, and during spring they produce  white (at times red or pink) bracts with bunches of flowers that are yellow in color at the center.. During the summer months,  the flowers disappear and the color of the leaves turns pale green providing pleasant shade.  During the autumn season their leaves change into striking bright red prior to dropping. In winter they exhibit an attractive framework,  the bark resembling the skin of an alligator.


The majority of the Arborists recommends pruning the Dogwood trees so that they retain their health as well as their figure. Make sure to prune in the spring season, as soon as their flowers drop, to avoid their buds from getting  stunted during the coming season. Supply a coating of compost below the tree every spring season, spread it outwards to the drip line (the portion below the branches). In order to retain dampness in the soil put in a 2” stratum of mulch. Manage the growth of weed by placing some inches of mulch a little away  from the trunk of the tree.

The Dogwoods tree very rarely require pruning; but still it becomes important to discard the withered or damaged branches, portions that are infected by insects or those having any form of disease, or suckers.  Giving them a shape gives them an appealing look.

Pest and Pesticides

Powdery mildew as well as aphids poses a threat to the trees. However, applying oils of horticulture and fungicides,  averts diseases and also insects.  Many years ago the Dogwood Anthracnose Fungus was very harmful to these trees, but this threat has been  well averted by providing the trees with proper air draft and morning sunlight. Since the roots of the Dogwood trees do not penetrate deep into the ground they profit from the added water supplied to them during the drought.

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Harvest Month and Storage

Not applicable.


The varieties comprise of the:

  • Pacific Dogwood Botanical name Cornus nuttallii of western parts of North America
  • The Kousa Dogwood or Cornus kousa belonging to the Eastern regions of Asia
  • The General Dogwood tree Cornus Sanquinea of Eurasia
  • The short-growing Boreal variety (or Bunchberries)
  • The Eurasian dwarf- botanic name, cornel Cornus suecica
  • The Canadian dwarf, bionomially called Cornel Cornus Canadensis
  • The extensively grown blossoming Dogwood (Cornus Florida) hailing from the eastern provinces of North America.

Applications of the Flowering Dogwood Cornus Florida L.

  • These flowers of the flowering dogwood tree play a useful role in treating hoarseness, and  take on the role  of blood purification, especially in child afflictions like malaria, worm infestation,  measles and colic problems.
  • Their showy blossoms are an all time ornamental flower favorite.
  • Flowering Dogwood trees,  restore soil health by virtue of their leaves decomposing rapidly, and adding nutrient value.
  • These trees are a source of food for the wildlife. Many animals and birds consume their seeds.
  • The wood of the dogwood tree is extensively used in the manufacture of charcoal, hay forks, wheel cogs, handles and pulleys, not to mention their occasional use as heads for golf clubs, knitting needles and wheels of roller skates.

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