Dogwood trees (Genus Cornus) are such a great addition to any landscape! They all have such varied leaves and foliage, it’s hard to not find one that will work in your yard. Some of them even have bark that it’s showy centerpiece. There are many types of dogwood trees and shrubs (almost 50 varieties!), and I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you here in the climate of our zone 5A yard. Dogwoods grow not only all over North America but some types of Dogwoods grow even into Florida and other parts of United States. I wanted to share with you different types of dogwood trees to plant to add interest to your yard.
Pink Flowering Dogwood
As a tree it is one of the prettiest with showy pink flowers with green centers that are one of the first bloomers of the early spring starting in April. The blossoms are really short lived, but have a really pretty pink striation with lime green and yellow dotted centers.
They are fairly moderate growth rate and can reach a height of 25 feet with about a 10-15 foot spread. While these are beautiful trees, they are understory trees and do best under large growers like Maples and prefer partial shade. They also like well-drained moist soil and do best in growing zones 5-9.
We planted this dogwood tree in 2012. It had reached 15 feet by 2018. One of the few disadvantages of Pink Flowering Dogwoods is while the blooms are pretty in the spring, they don’t last long and a late frost can wipe them out quickly. The rest of the season they are green with an airy quality, and work well when mixed among other trees. These aren’t great if you are looking for a shade tree, it’s really more of an ornamental. They also like mulch and a wetter but well-drained soil.
Red Twig Dogwood
If you are looking for a shrub with a fast growth rate that does fine in full sun, the Red Dogwood is a great option. It has a lot of winter interest with the older branches turning a deep red in the winter when it goes into dormancy and they are great branches to hang onto for your winter planters when you do some pruning. The leaves also add a lot of fall interest with a pretty yellow and red coloring.
They do like to spread and send up suckers, so make sure to plant them where they have room to grow… or be contained. In good soil they can reach a height from 6-9 feet. They can grow in full or partial sun, and have medium green leaves. We have ours on the side of the house and the red branches really pop against the white siding and have nice contrast against the snow. It also doesn’t mind the full southern exposure of sunlight we have it in either. It’s an excellent landscape choice if you are looking for a row of shrubbery with interesting color.
Every year, I prune out 1/3 of the largest branches to keep the stem coloring green as older stems tend to lose their color. it does produce small, white flower clusters that turn into small, white berries that the birds love so much, so we never really see them, just the left over stems!
Kousa Dogwood (Japanese Dogwood)
The Kousa Dogwood is one tree I go back and forth on. I really love the gorgeous large white flowers, but after dealing with my Pagoda Dogwood (see paragraph below), I am really hesitant. With a height of up to 25 feet, It is supposed to be one of the messiest Dogwood Trees dropping fruit in the fall up to 1 inch in diameter. It also attracts lots of wildlife like squirrels and deer that love the fruit.
The Pagoda Dogwood
Our Padoga Dogwood happened as a gift from a bird. One day it started sprouting in our yard in a hydrangea bush and by the time we noticed it, it was big enough to identify as an actual tree. It took about 5 years for it to hit maturity when I realized what a messy tree it is. In June it is covered in brachts of white flowers that when disturbed let their powdery stamens and pollen fall to the ground enmasse. In mid summer the white flowers give away to deep, dark red-purple fruit that the birds love to eat and then poop near by. I would not recommend planting this anywhere near your cars or house.
That being said, once the messy part is done about early August, it is one of my favorite trees in my yard. It has a beautiful lateral branching habit, and is a haven for birds and wildlife. The leaves are really interesting and it does cast a fair amount of shade, and grows pretty quickly. We have to prune ours every season. It does attract lots of different species of birds, and I love how they land in the branches and sing as we sit under our gazebo. It makes it feel like a woodland getaway. The leaves also turn a pretty red in the fall.
That being said, because if the berries and birds, it’s easy to find seedlings in your yard after the birds have been snacking. For me, it’s a trade off to have such a beautiful tree that I didn’t even have to pay for. The Pagoda Dogwood is also a native tree to our area, so I am happy to help the local eco-sytem.
White Dogwoods, Yellow Twig and Yellow Flowering Dogwoods
I haven’t added any of those to my yard yet, though I am considering a Cornelian Cherry Dogwood which has white flowers and glossy red fruits. As I mentioned before, there are many tyoes of Dogwoods. You can find ones with yellow flowers like the Pink Flowering Dogwoods, or you can find them with yellow twigs and stems. It all depends on the color scheme of your landscaping. You local nurseries should have ones that are right for your area. They can also help you to select what might grow best in your yard and will carry varieties best suited for your growing zone. Or maybe you’ll get lucky and a bird will plant one or two for you as well!