How to Prune a Dogwood Tree

Knowing how to prune a dogwood tree can help the tree’s health and appearance. In fact the dogwood tree doesn’t need a strict pruning schedule since it grows naturally into a beautiful shape. However pruning for health and for air circulation will also help you enjoy the tree for a much longer time.

There are many varieties of dogwoods, such as Kousa, Cornelian cherry, and flowering dogwood. In fact the flowering dogwood is the state tree for Missouri and Virginia and blooms with beautiful white, pink, and rose blossoms!

kousa dogwood
cornelian cherry dogwood
  • Uses: Dogwoods are perfect for landscaping, especially near utility lines, patios, and larger buildings because of their size. Moreover you can use the bark for medicinal purposes. The fruit of the Cornelian cherry dogwood is also very delicious in jams and is greatly underused in America.
  • Size/Shape: With variations depending on the dogwood, the flowering dogwood at maturity has a height of 25′ and a spread of around 25′.
  • Color: In the spring, these trees are known for their white, pink, red flowers. However in the fall, the leaves turn a beautiful red-purple. When the bright red fruits are ripe, songbirds come to enjoy them.
  • Hardiness Zones: 5-9 (flowering dogwood)
  • Bloom Period: blooms in April–May.
  • Cultivation: With partial sun (it prefers dappled shade) and proper pruning, watering, and mulching maintenance these trees can grow 13–24″ per year. You can also add a beneficial fungi to its soil called mycorrhizal fungi which will help grow its roots by 20 times and prevent some root diseases.
  • Soil Preference: The dogwood tree can grow in acidic, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, well-drained and clay soils. However it does prefer moist conditions.
  • Wildlife Value: Many birds and various animals such as foxes, squirrels, rabbits, and beavers eat the delicious fruit. Deer and rabbits also browse the foliage and twigs. 
flowering dogwood

Why Prune a Dogwood Tree?

The main reasons why it is a good idea to prune a dogwood tree are the following. Firstly, you can maintain a healthy tree by removing dead, diseased or damaged wood. Secondly, you can improve air circulation which reduces pests and diseases. And thirdly, if you want your dogwood in a certain shape and size, then pruning will help you do that.

When to Prune a Dogwood Tree

The best time to prune a dogwood tree is when the tree is dormant so late fall and winter. This way the tree won’t be susceptible to boring insects and its wounds won’t bleed a lot of sap.

How to Prune

  • The dogwood tree doesn’t need to be pruned consistently since it will naturally grow into a beautiful shape.
  • However if you see damaged or diseased wood, prune these anytime of the year by cutting the branch back to a healthy branch.
  • You can also prune the suckers which grow off the lower trunk since they use a lot of the tree’s energy.
  • Moreover prune back any low hanging branches to add some space for you to be able to access under the tree. If you like the shape of the low hanging branches, then you can keep them.
  • Lastly, prune downward, upward, & inward growing branches since they may rub against other branches and cause damage.
how to prune a dogwood tree
how to plant a dogwood

Knowing how to prune a dogwood tree is an important step in growing these beautiful trees.

You can read more in our growing guide about not only how to prune a dogwood, but also how to take care of your tree. If you would like to discover other trees, explore our tree catalog or shop page.

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