Common Name: flowering dogwood
Native Range: Eastern North America
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).
Cornus florida, commonly known as flowering dogwood, is a small deciduous tree that typically grows 15-30’ tall with a low-branching, broadly-pyramidal but somewhat flat-topped habit. It arguably may be the most beautiful of the native American flowering trees. It is native from Maine to southern Ontario to Illinois to Kansas south to Florida, Texas and Mexico. It is the state tree of Missouri and Virginia. It blooms in early spring (April) 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, 4-petaled, white flower. Oval, dark green leaves (3-6” long) turn attractive shades of red in fall. Bright red fruits are bitter and inedible to humans (some authors say poisonous) but are loved by birds. Fruits mature in late summer to early fall and may persist until late in the year.
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.