The Q&A Archives: Pruning Pagoda Dogwood

Question: Guidelines for pruning a Pagoda Dogwood?

Answer: Pagoda dogwood or Cornus alternifolia grows to 25' with an interesting flat crown and horizontal spreading layers of branches. It blooms with white clustered flowers in late spring; the fruit, small bitter dark blue berries, persists to winter and is highly attractive to wildlife. A further plus is fall color, shades of yellow, red, even purple. Prefers moist soil and light shade. You'll want to wait until after it has finished flowering before you prune your tree. You can shorten the branches by up to one-third their length if the tree is growing too wide. Because the branches tend to be evenly spaced and horizontal, there generally are no crossing branches to remove, but if you find any branches out of place, you can remove them completely. Otherwise, simply reduce the width and height of your dogwood by pruning just the branches tips out - up to one-third of the live plant material. If you prune more than that, your dogwood can become stressed and more susceptible to insect and disease problems.

Enjoy your Pagoda Dogwood!

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