White Dogwood - 'Cornus florida'The White Dogwood is a small deciduous ornamental tree that is arguably the most beautiful of the native American flowering trees. Native from Maine to southern Ontario to Illinois to Kansas south to Florida, Texas and Mexico, it is also the state tree of Missouri and Virginia. With blooms in early spring (April), the true dogwood flowers are actually tiny, yellowish green and insignificant and are surrounded by four showy, white bracts which open flat. White Dogwoods turn attractive shades of red and purple in fall and have bright red fruits that are bitter and inedible to humans. Fruits mature in late summer to early fall and can attract birds. The common name of dogwood is likely a reference to an old-time use of hard slender stems from the tree that were used for making skewers once known as dags or dogs. While the White Dogwood has many pests and disease problems when stressed, it is widely planted across the United States and is well worth the effort for its Spring and Fall beauty.
||White Dogwood, Flowering Dogwood|
||Abundance, Barton, Big Girl, Bonnie, Cherokee Daybreak, Cherokee Princess, Cloud 9, Compacta, Fastigiata, First Lady, Fragrant Cloud, Gigantea, Green Glow, Golden Nugget, Hillenmeyer, Hohman's Gold, Imperial White, Magnifica, Mary Ellen, Moon Multibracteata, New Hampshire, Pendula, Plena, f. pluribracteata, Poinsett, President Ford, var. pygmaea, Rainbow, Salicifolia (Boyd's Willowleaf), September Dog, Springtime, Steele's Fastigiate, Tricolor, Weavers's White, Welchii, Welch's Bay Beauty, White Bouquet, White Cloud, White Giant, Willsii, World's Fair, f. xanthocarpa|
|Popular Varieties with Pink and Red Blooms:
||Please see the Pink Dogwood page for further cultivars.|
||Deciduous Ornamental Tree|
||Leaves are opposite, simple, oval or ovate, 3 to 6 inches long, 1 and 1/2 to 3 inches wide, abruptly acuminate, broad cuneate to rounded at base, nearly glabrous and dark green above, glaucous beneath and usually only pubescent on the veins, with 6 to 7 vein pairs. Leaves are a handsome bronze-green when unfolding and have a consistent red to reddish purple fall color. White Dogwoods are one of the most consistent trees for excellent fall color.|
||Variable with location, in some areas 20 feet in height represents a magnificent specimen; however, the tree can reach 30 to 40 feet in height with a spread equal to or considerably greater than the height.|
||Zone 5; this is a misnomer for seedling material from southern sources is not adequately hardy under Zone 5 conditions; plants which are sold in Zone 5 should be grown from seed collected from trees indigenous to those areas; if possible, always ask the nurserymen where the trees are grown and this, in turn, will save considerable disappointment when in 3 to 5 years time the trees show limited flowering; grows into Zone 9. For an idea of your plant zone please visit the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.|
||Shrub (seldom) or small, low-branched tree with spreading horizontal lines, layered effect, usually with a flat-topped crown and often wider than high at maturity; excellent plant for winter habit, very unique.|
||Slow upon transplanting, gradually assuming a medium rate.|
||True flowers are greenish yellow and unimportant, each 1/4 inch across, in a crowded 1/2 inch wide head, showy parts of inflorescences are the 4 white bracts which are obovate or emarginate, about 2 inches long, the entire involucre (bracts) 3 to 4 inches across, occur in April to May, effective for 10 to 14 days depending on the weather; true flowers are borne in short stalked comes (umbels?) and are subtended by the handsome bracts; normally in full regalia in mid April.|
|Diseases & Insects:
||The White Dogwood, when stressed, is susceptible to a large number of disease problems, the most serious of which is dogwood anthracnose. Trees are also susceptible to powdery mildew, leaf spot, canker, root rot and leaf and twig blight. Stressed trees also become vulnerable to borers, leaf miners, and scale. For more information on identifying and treating several of these problems, please visit http://www.dogwoodtrees.net/.|
||The aristocrat of native flowering trees, often over planted but never becomes obnoxious as is the case with forsythia, deutzia, and spirea; a plant with four-season character (excellent flower, summer and fall foliage, fruit, and winter habit); excellent as specimen, near a patio, corners of a houses and larger buildings, parks, groupings; especially effective against a red brick background where the flowers are accentuated, as is the branching habit in winter.|
||Even as a small tree (3 to 4 feet) move balled and burlapped; provide an acid, well-drained soil with sufficient organic matter; mulch to maintain a cool, moist, soil. Trees planted in poorly drained soils and open areas where summer water is limited invariably decline and die; not pollution tolerant.|
||Water regularly after initial planting and prune in winter or early spring as necessary to maintain form and desired shape. Take caution when watering your dogwood in the morning. Do not under any circumstances wet dogwood foliage in the morning, as wet foliage makes ideal conditions for certain diseases.|
||Fertilize an area three times the canopy spread of the tree 1 to 2 times a year with a 10-10-10 fertilizer. Only fertilize an established tree.
||Dig a hole three times the diameter of the root system, with a depth no deeper than the original soil line on trunk. Break up the soil to the finest consistency possible. Place plant in hole and fill, compacting the fill dirt. Water the plant heavily to seal soil around the roots and remove air pockets. Water well, and remember to water regularly until they have started to grow.