Answer: Dogwoods are naturally understory trees in forested areas. They grow best in cool, moist soils and under the canopies of larger trees where they are protected from hot sunshine. Because of this, they typically have wide spaced branches and sometimes grow with very few leaves. This is a normal growth habit for them. They are also quite sensitive to pruning so I would not prune anything live at this time of year, but you can certainly cut off any obviously dead branches and limbs. If you need to prune it back to reduce its size, do so in the winter while it is dormant. Moss and algae are normal on the trunks and sometimes on the branches of the trees. Their growth won't harm your tree and actually add some character to the trees themselves. I would simply leave it alone. Hope this answers all your questions!
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