The Dogwood Trees
Cornus or ‘Dogwood’ trees include the very popular deciduous flowering varieties as well as the evergreen Cornus capitata (evergreen dogwood).
It is the deciduous flowering species and cultivars that are most popular as ornamental garden plants. A few interesting hybrids are also available, including , this is a cross between C.nuttallii and Cornus florida.
It is best to look for varieties that are more resistent to Anthracnose, these include many of the Cornus Kousa Hybrids such as :
- Beni Fuji.
- Ed Mezitt.
- Summer Majesty.
- Trinity Star.
Cornus florida is a species that will reach around 25ft tall, although often smaller in cultivation. Attractive layered branches and good green foliage. Flowers appear in spring on bare wood, ranging on color from white through to pink.
Cornus kousa is an early flowering species, masses of showy white flowers in spring, followed by red fruits.
Cornus mas is the cornelian cherry, a variety from Europe grown for the flowers and also the showy red fruit which follows. The fruit, when very ripe, is used to make jellies.
Growing well in many zones, although most Cornus varieties are not tolerant of very dry conditions, given some shade they are a remarkably hardy plant.
Prepare the soil well by digging in well rotted compost and aged manure. We like to do this around 1 month before planting. This allows any heat to go out of the compost.
New plants are best staked when planting, this encourages a good upright leader, that will eventually give you wonderful layered or tiered branches which is a feature of many varieties.’
Best planted in early spring, as soon as the soil begins to warm, or if you have the water in late summer when they can still put on good root growth before winter.
Water in well with a liquid seaweed fertilizer which will promote good root growth.
In general we try not to prune Cornus varieties at all. They have a great growth habit and pruning tends to take away from this.
However any dead or damaged wood should be removed. Some gardeners will prune away some branches right back to the trunk to obtain a more ‘open’ growth habit. Be selective and consider which branches to prune very carefully before you attempt this.
Cornus species and cultivars include
- Cornus alba.
- Cornus alba stricta,
- Cornus alternifolia
- Cornus argentea
- Cornus alba elegantissima
- Cornus capitata
- Cornus ‘eddies white wonder’
- Cornus florida officinalis
- Cornus florida rubra
- Cornus kousa
- Cornus canadensis
- Cornus mas
Where to buy
Cornus or Dogwood Trees are available from the following Nurseries
STARK Bro’s NURSERIES& ORCHARDS Co. – phone: 1-800-325-4180
PO Box 1800 Louisiana MO 63353