by Debra Wyatt
(last updated June 25, 2010)
The flowering dogwood (cornus florida) is a beautiful tree with a gorgeous spring display of flowers. Flowers on the tree in the springtime have four petal-like bracts; these bracts are usually a snow white or pink surrounding a cluster of little inconspicuous yellow flowers. When fall comes the tree bears a bright red football-shaped fruit, which attracts birds and other wildlife.
The dogwood is considered to be a small tree, but it can grow to thirty or thirty-five feet across. The typical size would be around fifteen feet high, with a measurement of fifteen to twenty feet across.
The tree is found mostly in the eastern part of North America but can be found as far south as Florida. The dogwood is considered to be one of the most popular ornamental trees. When planning your garden or landscaping think about using the flowering dogwood as a background tree or as a framing tree. This is one exceptional tree when it comes to flowering, because the tree is beautiful all year round. In the springtime you enjoy the beautiful flowers, the leaves in the summertime, and the bright red berries along with the consistent fall color.
As for maintenance, the tree requires very little. The tree does very well in moist, fertile ground with good drainage. If the soil is too moist or doesn't have adequate drainage the roots will rot. While the flowering dogwood can tolerate some dry spells, it can't tolerate the dry spells for long. When there is either a drought or a long dry spell consider watering the dogwood at least weekly.
Some care should be exercised when it comes to fertilizing. It would be best to talk with your local nursery to find the best fertilizer. If the tree is over fertilized when it is young, it can be injured. There is no need to fertilize an established tree. After the tree has been established it will receive the needed nutrients from other trees and plants.
The dogwood can tolerate shade, partial shade, and the full sun. However it does best if the tree receives full sun in the north and has partial shade in the south where the days are hotter.
Flowering dogwood doesn't require any special pruning. In fact, pruning is generally not required other than to remove injured or dead branches.
The biggest threat to the flowering dogwood is dogwood anthracnose. Cool, wet spring or fall weather can bring the infection on. If the tree is infected for several years, it can kill the tree.
This tree has hardwood which is used in making loom shuttles and spindles. With the beautiful leaves the tree makes a wonderful shade tree. Because of its small stature this tree is a very good candidate for smaller yards.
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