The Q&A Archives: Dogwood Training

Question: I have several Dogwood (Florida) trees grown from seed and I'm wondering if I need to cut the terminal bud in order to force them to branch. The trees range in height from 3 to 5 feet and are basically sticks. Of those that have begun to branch, it is down near the ground. This is only their second year of growth. Do I need to do anything to help them into the proper shape or help them to branch? Or will they continue to form branches higher up naturally? Should I prune the branches near the ground? Or should I simply leave them alone? Please advise. No one seems to be able to help. Thanks.


Answer: You can train new little trees by pinching or rubbing the buds that grow too low down on the trunk. But, don't pinch out the tip of the main stem or your tree will never get any taller! Your saplings will continue to put on height as they mature, and branch buds will form along the trunk at regular intervals. Rub out any buds that are too low down, and leave those that are well placed.

Since trees need leaves for photosynthesis, you may want to leave one or two of the misplaced branches on the trees for now, then remove them after newer branches develop.

Continue to give your saplings TLC and allow them to grow at will. You can do some formal pruning and training when they're a little older.

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