Everything You Need to Know

What does a flowering dogwood tree look like? Well, at first glance it may look quite similar to other ornamental trees.

But when you take a closer look, there are many distinct features that set this tree apart from fellow flowering plants.

Itching to find out if you have a flowering dogwood tree in your yard? Use the guide below to find out.

Tree identification by leaf

Flowering dogwood tree leaves are green and oval-shaped with a pointed tip. Their size is about 3-6 inches long. The major veins extend all the way to the leaf margin.

Tree identification by flower

Perhaps the most unique thing about a flowering dogwood tree is its flowers, which…aren’t actually flowers! The showy blooms that are often referred to as flowers are bracts, which are modified leaves found in between a traditional leaf and the actual flower.

Dogwoods are most recognized for their cross-shaped white or pink bracts. If you get up close to your tree, you can also spot its true flowers, which look like greenish-yellow clusters in the center.

Tree identification by bark

Flowering dogwood tree bark is dark gray. The bark is smooth when the tree’s young, and then as the tree ages, the bark breaks up into small squares that make the trunk look like it’s covered in scales.

How to care for flowering dogwood

Below are some of the need-to-know tips for caring for your flowering dogwood tree:

  • Growing zones: Part of this tree’s charm is its ability to grow in a variety of climates. You can plant a flowering dogwood tree in zones 5-9—just be sure to avoid planting in areas with extreme cold, heat and high winds.
  • Where to plant: This tree thrives in acidic, well-drained soil. To find out what type of soil you have in your yard, get a soil test.
  • Height/spread: A flowering dogwood can grow anywhere from 20-40 feet tall with a 15-30-foot spread.
  • Sunlight: Plant your tree in a partially shaded location where it’ll get 4-6 hours of sun each day.
  • Bloom time: Flowering dogwoods bloom between April and early May. The actual flowers stick around through the fall season, where they turn a cranberry red color. There’s even a bonus bloom in fall: bright red berries.
  • Pruning: You can prune flowering dogwoods to adjust their shape or size, but these trees naturally grow into a neat shape. If you want to give your tree a trim, make sure to do it during fall.

Potential Threats

Flowering dogwoods are vulnerable to several pests and diseases, including:

When it comes to deer, don’t fret; deer browsing is not common on dogwood trees!

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