The flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) requires very little maintenance in exchange for the showy white and pink blossoms that it produces in the spring. Because of its small size and easy care, you may wish to plant more than one of these attractive trees in your yard.
In the wild, the dogwood is an understory tree, meaning that it grows in the shade of larger trees, remaining small but spreading its branches to maximize its absorption of sunlight. The size of the tree depends somewhat on exposure to the sun, according to Clemson University Cooperative Extension, with trees growing up to 20 feet in the sun and 40 feet in the shade. The spread of the branches may exceed the tree's height.
The dogwood's diminutive size lets you plant multiple trees closer together than you would larger species. University of Missouri Extension recommends spacing dogwoods at least 20 feet apart and locating them no closer than 6 feet to any buildings.
In addition to affecting the size of your dogwoods, exposure to sun also influences the production of flowers, with shade-grown dogwoods requiring more space and producing fewer flowers, according to Penn State Cooperative Extension. If space is a concern in your yard, aim for sunny locations that will help keep your trees compact and full of flowers come spring.
First published in 2000, Dawn Walls-Thumma has served as an editor for "Bartleby" and "Antithesis Common" literary magazines. Walls-Thumma writes about education, gardening and sustainable living. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and writing from University of Maryland and is a graduate student in humanities at American Public University.