The Q&A Archives: 2 Year Old Dogwood And Pruning

Question: My 2 year old dogwood bloomed a bit this year! Not much but more than last year (which was not at all). The tree has leafed out beautifully, but some of the arms are quite full and the top is quite heavy too and tall. Can I prune to shape? It really looks a bit weird and lopsided. The branches are so full of leaves it is pulling them down a considerable amount. Or should I "leave" it alone? Thanks for your help. I love this question/answer forum!

Answer: Dogwood (Cornus florida) is naturally a horizontal branching tree, so what you are seeing may be the natural shape developing. In general it is best to avoid pruning these trees as the pruning cuts leave an open invitation to potential pests such as borers. In a new tree, it would be unusual to see a need for pruning in any case, it should have been well formed at the nursery. Without seeing the plant I would suggest the most conservative course of leaving it alone. Over the years it should develop into a characteristically beautiful tree with an individualized shape and form that give it a unique beauty. Enjoy your dogwood!

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