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Dogwood ( Cornus Florida )White Florida Dogwood in the fall

Dogwood Origins:


- native to the eastern United States


Dogwood Preferred Exposure:


- although further North in its range these trees will grow with full sun exposure, here in North Florida | St. Augustine | Jacksonville landscapes, the Florida native Dogwood  trees will do best as understory tree where other larger growing shade trees such as Oaks or Pines block some of the hot sun off of its foliage in the afternoon.


Dogwood Foliage :


- deciduous foliage of the Dogwood Tree is a light leaf green color during spring and summer and will turn red to maroon color before falling off the tree for the winter.



Dogwood Soil Preference / Salt tolerance:


- white Florida dogwood trees prefer deep rich well-defined soils including sandy loam, acidic and slightly alkaline soils as long as they do not remind wet or soggy after North Florida's heavy rainfalls.


- Cornus Florida has a low salt tolerance and should be avoided in any sodic soil situations and near salt air. See Bottlebrush trees for a beautiful option for a salt tolerant ornamental tree that will tolerate North Florida's ocean breeze exposures along marshes or coastal areas.


Dogwood Size Variance:


- Dogwood trees can reach sizes of 25-35 feet H | 15-25+ feet W depending on how many trunks are allowed to develop.


Dogwood Growth Habit:


- White Dogwood trees tend to have lower branches with a fairly horizontal branch pattern and upturned branches through the center. 


Dogwood Growth Rate:


- The owner of a Dogwood tree is a patient and caring individual. The slow growth rate and particular care needed for successful establishment into the landscape do a good job of making the trees somewhat of a rarity.


The trees go unnoticed much of the year and blend into the neighboring landscapes well until spring, when you happen to glance over as your driving down the road and see a mature White Florida Dogwood in full bloom, you will know it is worth the wait, and maybe even the extra fuss in the first few seasons.


Florida Dogwood Bloom: Florid White Dogwood Bloom closeup


- Little compares to a Florida Dogwood in full bloom. The white flowers almost cover the bare branches each year in early spring before the tree puts on its cloak of leaves for the year.


- The trees may go unnoticed much of the year and blend into the neighboring landscapes well, that is until spring... when you happen to glance over as your driving down the road and see a mature White Florida Dogwood in full bloom, you will know it is well worth the little bit of extra fuss to get a newly planted Dogwood tree established into your landscape, even the slow growth rate wont bother you, one glance out of the corner of your eye in early spring is all it takes to fall in love with these trees.  


Dogwood Water Requirements:


- I have often repeated the infamous words that a Dogwood tree is not truly yours until it has survived two growing seasons in the landscape.


 - A slower growth rate means a slower transition from a potted perfectly cared for and pampered tree to a hardened off survivor in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine landscape. In other words... it takes more TLC for a longer period of time than most trees because of the prolonged establishment period.


 - Dogwood trees will need to be watered on a daily basis for a minimum of a two month period, then slowly tapered back to every other day then every third day and so on until you reach a weekly watering during its first season in ground after planting.


 - Think your done? Not so I'm afraid, Dogwoods will require a second season of TLC the following year.  A weekly thorough watering is needed especially during times of reduced rainfall to ensure survival of these trees in the landscape.


Butterfly or Bird Attracting:


- The Florida White Dogwood will attract birds to its graceful branches, particularly when fruiting. Birds love those little red oval shaped berries for the few weeks each year they will be there.


Best Uses For Dogwood Trees:


- Although Dogwood trees tend to be more of an investment in time and attention than many other trees for North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine landscapes, they are well worth the trouble. Tree choices to match the beauty of a Dogwood in full bloom are few and far between.


 - Use Dogwoods as an Understory tree or ornamental tree where they will receive morning sun and afternoon shade in a location where you will be able to sit and enjoy them each year in the spring.  


 - The low lying horizontal branches make the shade underneath the branches of a Florida Dogwood the perfect spot for a bench, lounge chair to read in or even a picnic table.


Care of Dogwood Trees in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine landscape:


- Water every day during the prolonged establishment period. ( See Dogwood water requirements of further explanation)


-They will need consistent water during the establishment period and supplemental irrigation during dry spells or particularly hot dry summers for the first few seasons after planting.


- Little, if any pruning is needed on the Florida Native Dogwood tree.


- Provide a 1 ft diameter circle of mulched area where grass is kept from growing for each inch of caliper (or diameter) of trunk measured 4 inches from the ground level.


- Fertilize each spring with a mixture of milorganite and a slow release poly coated plant food such as Osmocote or Stay Green general purpose plant food, sprinkling the fertilizer around the mulch circle underneath the foliage of the tree.


Don't want to chase down those products? Simply click the photos below, purchase through Amazon from this link and have them delivered to your door! Not only do you skip the trip to the store but your supporting me in my efforts to provide you with all the information you need to keep your North Florida garden growing at its best! Thanks for considering your purchase here, I appreciate the help!


Why Use 'Osmocote Plus' fertilizer for the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area landscape?


It's poly coated slow release granules allow you to fertilize without the excess waste going down into our water ways that you get when you fertilize with other water soluble fertilizers, Osmocote special poly coated fertilizer beeds are heat release and slowly swell up and burst over time, they don't dilute every time we get a rain or your sprinkler system comes on!!!


This slow release system makes it virtually impossible to damage your plant by over fertilizing. Its goof proof!


My favorite part about Osmocote Plus is there's no need to constantly re apply, not weekly, not semi weekly, not even monthly! Osmocote Plus fertilizer will last 6 months in the garden, so apply in the spring and again in late summer to keep your plants looking their best without the constant fuss.



  • Osmocote plus multi purpose plant food is ever made available for amateur use
  • Each granule contains 12 essential nutrients
  • Everything your plant needs to thrive and the 6-month feeding pattern is controlled by the most advanced technology in plant food
  • One application feeds all season long up to 6 full months
  • Works with virtually all plant varieties and in all soil conditions

Why Use 'Green Edge' fertilizer for North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area gardens and landscapes?

You don't have to have been in Florida long to realize that there is just sand everywhere! The water provided by rains and irrigation systems disappears quickly into Florida's sandy soils.

Its especially important when planting new items into the landscape to make sure that your new plants are getting enough water and the root system isn't drying out. Think of milorganite as adding tiny sponges to the soil for the root system of your plants, they are soaking up and holding all that rain and irrigation water and slowly releasing the water and nutrients to your plants root system.

  • Slow Release Fertilizer with 100% Organic Nitrogen
  • Does Not Burn Plants
  • Adds Organic Matter to Soil and Helps in Nutrient Recycling
  • Grows Your Plants with Less Water and is Environmentally Friendly
  • Use It For All Your Gardening Needs!


Click here for more information on  White Florida Dogwood trees in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area landscapes.