Flowering Red Dogwood TreeCornus florida
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The Red Flowering Dogwood Tree is the perfect spring flowering tree for your garden. Considered one of the most beautiful flowering trees available, its large red flowers appear on the bare stems, and last for weeks. They are followed by handsome heart-shaped leaves that turn brilliant scarlets and burgundies in fall. Red berries appear in late summer, and this tree has a beautiful layered branching arrangement, making a graceful and elegant specimen on a lawn. Plant it at the back of garden beds, at the side of your home, or edging a woodland area.
The Red Flowering Dogwood Tree should be planted in full sun, or with some afternoon shade, in rich, moist soil that is well-drained and preferably neutral to acidic. Water regularly during dry spells. No trimming is needed, but you can remove lower branches and expose the attractive limbs and encourage a wider pattern of growth. The red berries are not edible, but they are not poisonous, and they provide a valuable fall treat for wild birds.
Everyone loves to see flowering dogwood trees in their garden, and they are indeed beautiful trees, covered with pure-white blossoms, like a late spring snowstorm has passed through. While white is the classic color, we are not limited to it, and for a brighter beauty, as a wonderful way to bring color into your spring garden, the Red Flowering Dogwood Tree is an obvious winner. No matter if you plant it on the lawn in front of your home, or along the edges of a wilder woodland area, you will love the way that the brilliant red flowers glow across your landscape. Even if you have some existing white trees, imagine how beautiful a red one will look, like a princess at a ball.
The Red Flowering Dogwood Tree grows quickly when young, and you will soon have a beautiful specimen. In time it will grow between 15 and 30 feet tall, depending on your soil and climate, and the tree’s location. It has a rounded crown, and you can allow it to grow naturally into a multi-stem tree, or train it to just one or two main trunks. It will normally be as wide as it is tall, or even wider, and in an open location it will grow wider than it will if it is surrounded by other trees. The branches develop into a beautiful layered structure, and in flower, or just in leaf, this is always a beautiful, graceful, and elegant tree – one of the best. When choosing a planting spot, take its final size into account. Don’t plant beneath wires, or crowd it up against a building or a fence. Give it plenty of room and allow at least 10 feet from the trunk to your home, a fence, your property line, or any other potential obstructions.
The beauty of the Red Flowering Dogwood begins in spring, when the flowers emerge on the bare branches. Each blossom is 3 to 4 inches across, with four broad petals. These are actually modified leaves, called ‘bracts’, not flower parts. You can see the true flowers, sitting in a cluster in the middle between the bracts. They are small and greenish, with no petals. The ‘flowers’ cluster all along the branches, and every year will see more and more blooms, until the branches are hidden by their profusion. Flowering lasts a full 3 to 4 weeks, and then, as the leaves begin to emerge, the flowers fade and the bracts fall. The flowers then develop into a cluster of green berries, which turn red by late summer and fall. They are harmless to eat, but unpleasant. Wild birds love them, though, and they will soon be taken, providing a valuable fall food source for your neighborhood birds.
The leaves of the Red Flowering Dogwood are heart-shaped, and up to 6 inches long and 3 inches wide, with a long, tapering tip. They are slightly hairy when they first appear, but soon become smooth and a little glossy. They are a rich green all summer, looking beautiful, and then in fall this tree puts on its second big performance of the year, when the leaves turn rich shades of red, from deep red to bright scarlet. Even in winter it is attractive, with the delicate tracery of the branches spread out in the cold, or perhaps highlighted by falling snow.
The Red Flowering Dogwood is hardy through zone 5, and it grows well in all the warmer zones, so it can be grown almost anywhere in the country, outside of the coldest areas. It should be planted in full sun, or in partial shade, and it grows best in rich, moist, slightly acidic soil. In practice this is a vigorous tree that will grow well in all soils except for very alkaline ones, so it can be grown almost anywhere. In warmer zones some afternoon shade is valuable, and more sun and a protected location are ideal in colder zones. Use mulch over the roots, keeping it away from the trunks, to conserve moisture and keep the soil cool. Water regularly, and deeply, during dry spells, although established trees are moderately drought tolerant. This tree has some pests and diseases, but if planted in a well-lit spot, and watered properly, it will grow well, and usually be free of problems. If you live in an area with a high risk of dogwood anthracnose, we recommend you grow the Kousa Dogwood, or a disease-resistant hybrid dogwood instead. Check our current selection, we only carry the best varieties.
The Red Flowering Dogwood is a selected form of the native flowering dogwood, Cornus florida. That tree grows all the way from Massachusetts to northern Florida and west into Texas. Virginia, Missouri and North Carolina have all made it their state tree. Wild trees are found growing mostly along the edges of forests and in clearings, and their spring display is a big event in areas where there are many trees growing wild. Those trees are all white flowering, but over the years gardeners and nurserymen have selected varieties with colorful flowers, and this is one of the best if you want rich, red blooms. These trees are always in high demand, and that will peak when they are in bloom, so order now, while these trees are still available, and enjoy those beautiful red blossoms in your own garden.