Native to Siberia, North America, China and even Japan or Korea, several varieties of dogwood exist and are used in gardens, their dense hardwood trunks taking on beautiful colours in the winter. It is the hardness of the wood that has earned dogwood the designation of “Cornus” in reference to a horn. Propagation, planting and maintenance depend on the grown variety. Dogwood is particularly hardy and very easy to plant and maintain. 

Of the Cornaceae family, dogwood is a fast-growing plant that can withstand temperatures as low as -4 ° F. Sometimes up to 26 feet high, it is usually grown alone or in hedges. Its maintenance consists of watering, supplying fertilizers and pruning. There are small enough species that are suitable for being grown in containers. They have a few known enemies including powdery mildew, anthracnose and scale insects.

Planting dogwood 

Planting dogwood seedlings from a container is done by digging a large, deep hole, in which the plant will be carefully placed with its rootball after having been soaked in water to facilitate its exit from the container. Then just close the hole by packing soil and watering sufficiently. Planting in a large pot is just as easy and follows a similar procedure, with the added need to ensure the substrate’s proper drainage by adding sand or even gravel. More easily planted in winter and fall, dogwoods with decorative bark can thrive either in well-drained pots containing sand and some soil, or in-ground, in the sun or in partial shade, on a land rich in humus, calcareous or not. However, it is best to avoid overly clayey soils and those too rich in organic manure. The flowering dogwood, also called Cornus florida, is ideally planted in the fall, in clumps, alone or in hedges, on neutral or acidic land that is also rich in humus and sufficiently drained. In semi-shade or exposed to the sun, this species likes damp soils and is easily propagated by cuttings from the month of May and by sowing in spring after the seeds have been meticulously sorted out. The species Cornus Kousa, which gives a beautiful bloom in May and June, is usually planted between November and February.

Maintenance of dogwood 

Regular watering during the first summers after planting is necessary to the dogwood’s proper development. The species Cornus Mas willingly does without watering from its second year after planting. The use of a slow release fertilizer is particularly recommended in order to supply dogwood with the nutrients needed for its growth. In addition, given its size, dogwood is not very demanding, so we can even do without any fertilizer. However, it is important for ornamental dogwood to be subjected to maintenance pruning in order to produce some nice shoots. Dogwood should also be cut back a year after planting to give it an appropriate height, whether it is planted in the garden or grown in a container.

Gardening tips for growing dogwood 

Because of its impressive size, reaching a height of 20 feet, Cornus Kousa should be planted alone in a remote area. To enhance their beauty, it would be interesting to combine ornamental dogwoods with other plants like birch and winter brambles. Outside periods of frost, dogwood, including the Cornus species, can be planted in the garden year-round. This can occur regardless of location, whether it is continental, oceanic or Mediterranean, because dogwood is a particularly hardy plant. Moreover, many enemies like scale insects, powdery mildew and anthracnose constitute a threat to dogwood. If scale insects attack the leaves and absorb the dogwood’s sap, powdery mildew can be identified by white traces left on the plant’s foliage, while anthracnose disease is caused by the fungus called Discula destructiva. To preserve dogwood and fight off its enemies, treat it with a skim milk solution (1 L of milk for 9 L of water) against powdery mildew. Then, place Cryptolaemus beetles on the plant; they will greedily devour scale insects: Finally, use insecticides or pesticides labelled “cleared for garden use” to fight off anthracnose.

Related posts:

  1. Planting and maintaining a fig tree
  2. Planting and maintaining birch
  3. Planting and maintaining thuja
  4. Planting and maintaining maple
  5. Planting and maintaining larch

Published in Flowering shrubs by Alexander on 04 Jul 2011