Tried and True
Recommended by 5 Professionals
Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: flowering dogwood
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 15.00 to 30.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 30.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White (bracts)
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil, Black Walnut
Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers organically rich, acidic soils in part shade. Benefits from a 4-6" mulch which will help keep roots cool and moist in summer. Difficult to transplant from the wild. May be inadvisable at this time to plant this tree in areas where dogwood anthracnose infestations are present (see problems section below).
Flowering dogwood is the Missouri State tree, and arguably may be the most beautiful of the native American flowering trees. Commonly seen in the wild in central and southern Missouri, it is a small, deciduous tree which typically grows 15-30' (infrequently to 40') with a low-branching, broadly pyramidal but somewhat flat-topped habit. Blooms in early spring shortly after, but usually overlapping, the bloom period of the redbuds. The true dogwood flowers are actually tiny, yellowish green and insignificant, being compacted into button-like clusters. However, each flower cluster is surrounded by four showy, white, petal-like bracts which open flat, giving the appearance of a single, large, 3-4" diameter, four-petaled, white flower. In autumn, the oval, dark green leaves (3-6" long) gradually change to a uniform scarlet red. Bright red fruits (poisonous to humans, but loved by birds) mature in early fall and usually persist until the middle of December. The reddish brown wood is extremely hard, and has been used to make tool handles.
Unfortunately this tree, particularly when stressed, is susceptible to a rather large number of disease problems, the most serious of which is dogwood anthracnose. Also susceptible to leaf spot, crown canker, root rot and leaf and twig blight. Stressed trees also become vulnerable to borers. Leaf miners and scale are less serious insect pests.
This popular and beloved tree is commonly planted as a specimen or in small groupings on residential property around homes, near patios or in lawns. Also effective in woodland, bird or native plant gardens.