Dogwood is the common name for more than 50 different species of flowering ornamental trees and shrubs from the Cornus genus. These shallow-rooted deciduous trees can grow up to 25 feet tall and boast attractive white blossoms in the spring. Providing newly planted dogwood trees with the appropriate amount of moisture is essential to successful cultivation. Dogwoods require 1 inch of water each week during the spring and summer of their first year of growth. The frequent irrigation helps your tree to develop a vigorous root system in its new location.
Newly-Planted Dogwood Irrigation Requirements
Dogwood trees should be irrigated regularly for the first year of growth to ensure the development of an extensive root system. The NC State University Cooperative Extension recommends that newly planted dogwoods receive 1 inch of moisture each week from spring through summer; provide supplemental irrigation for your tree when rainfall is insufficient. Water dogwood trees more frequently in hot, dry climates if necessary; the soil should be kept moist, but well-drained.
Established Dogwood Irrigation Requirements
Once established, dogwood trees require less frequent irrigation. Because dogwoods have shallow root systems, it's important to provide them with supplemental irrigation during hot, dry periods three weeks or longer. Give the tree up to 1 inch of water or as much as is required to evenly moisten the soil. Only provide supplemental irrigation for your dogwood tree during the spring and summer months; dogwoods perform poorly in cold, wet soils.
Dogwood Fertilization Requirements
Avoid fertilizing newly planted dogwoods since accidental over-fertilization can quickly kill young tree roots. The NC State University Cooperative Extension suggests withholding fertilizer from your dogwood tree for the first year of growth to encourage balanced root and foliage production. Established dogwood trees can benefit from two applications of water-soluble flowering plant fertilizer each growing season. Apply the first fertilizer application in early March; apply the second application in mid-June. For best results, work the fertilization into your irrigation routine by mixing the water-soluble fertilizer application into the water you provide for your tree.
Dogwood Care and Maintenance
Well-maintained dogwood trees can provide charming focal points for gardens and home landscapes. Despite their showy beauty, dogwood trees are relatively simple to care for and maintain. Spread a 3-inch layer of organic mulch over the surface of the soil around your tree; this helps the soil to retain moisture and suppresses the growth of weeds. Prune diseased, damaged or dead branches from your dogwood tree in the winter, while the tree is dormant, to minimize pruning stress.
- "The Gardener's Guide to Planting and Growing Trees"; Mike Buffi; 2007
- NC State University Cooperative Extension; Flowering Dogwood; Erv Evans
- Clemson University Cooperative Extension; Dogwood; Debbie Shaughnessy, et al.; February 2000
- National Arboretum: Dogwood Questions and Answers
- North Dakota State University Extension Service; Questions on Dogwood; Ron Smith
Megan Mattingly-Arthur has been writing professionally since 1998. She has contributed to various publications, including "Teen Voices" and "Positive Teens" magazines, as well as a book, "The Young Writer's Guide to Getting Published." Mattingly-Arthur is studying travel and tourism through Penn Foster Career School.