Facts About White Dogwood Trees

The white flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) is a typical deciduous tree happening throughout the eastern half of the United States. It’s the state tree of Virginia and state flower of North Carolina. It’s a typical ornamental landscape tree that provides something nice during the year. The tree offers showy white flowers in spring, rich green foliage in the summer, bright red leaves in fall and crimson berries relished by birds and animals all winter.

Flower Bracts

The white petals of this dogwood flower are in reality leaf-like growths called bracts as opposed to true petals. The real flowers are from the cluster at the center of the dogwood blossom. The showy bracts can attract pollinating insects to the flowers. Wild dogwood trees normally bloom in white, but red and pink varieties also occur.

Growth Habit

The flowering dogwood happens as one or multi-trunked tree. As an understory and woodland-edge tree, it rises to an average 20 to 25 feet tall and about 20 to 25 feet in spread. It has multi-layered branches. In winter it can be recognized by the big, flattened floral buds at the ends of its twigs. Branches droop as the tree grows and might require pruning to permit pedestrian or vehicle traffic.

Soil Requirements

Flowering white dogwood rises in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 5 through 9. It does best in well-drained, moist, acidic soil that’s rich in organic matter. It prefers partial sunlight. When planting new dogwoods, keep the trees well watered throughout their first couple of years. Dogwoods will grow in poor, dry, rocky or clay alkaline soils in sunlight. On the other hand, the trees won’t be vigorous and will be more vulnerable to diseases and insects.

Plagues and Pests

Dogwood trees typically stay healthy but they’re susceptible to particular plant diseases and insect pests. Dogwoods in very wet years can suffer with fungal blights like leaf and stem anthracnose, downy mildew and canker. A significant insect pest is the dogwood borer, which can kill trees in one season by consuming the underbark layers that carry sap. Dogwoods may also be afflicted by aphids, gall midges, leaf miners and scale insects.

Dogwood Uses

The dense, tough wood of dogwood trees was utilized from the 19th century to make weaving shuttles for textile mills. The wood wore effortlessly and didn’t crack under demanding use. The wood also has been used for golf club heads and chisel handles. Extracts from dogwood bark in the 19th century have been used to deal with malaria and canine mange, while extracts from dogwood roots made a scarlet fabric dye.

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