How can you tell a Dogwood

CORNUS FLORIDA

CORNUS FLORIDA

Often times over the years throughout planting season I get asked about trees that are good for small to medium spaces. Most clients mention and are aware of standard Dogwood trees, Cornus Florida is the Latin name.   These early bloomers come in white and pink and are usually a very welcome sight after a cold grey Winter. These beauties are an excellent choice for those hard to fit locations and will grow slowly as to not  quickly over power a space. There are some things to consider when planting this classic plant. One is the simple fact that this tree prefers to be an understory plant. It’s natural habitat is to grow under the protection and shade of larger hardwood species.  They do not always fare well as a stand alone plant especially in a bright and hot location. If the site is not carefully considered they will also be prone to some diseases like powdery mildew and canker. 

An alternative tree to consider is the Korean Dogwood or Cornus kousa. The site space requirements are the same.  The kousa blooms  about a month later than standard dogwood. later bloom timing can be a nice addition to the landscape after the initial Spring flourish. These flowers are abundant and showy. They have a yellow center with white bracts. These trees are also a bit tougher than standard. They are multi site tolerant and have far fewer insect and disease issues. 

Both of these beauties have unique traits to consider when thinking Dogwood. As always the planting site should be very carefully considered when taking on any planting project. Also there are now some cultivars which exist and may offer traits of both plants. So if you are not worried about indigenous material there are many choices. 

CORNUS KOUSA

CORNUS KOUSA

Paul Biester