Dogwood tree with flowers

How Often Should You Water a Dogwood Tree?

In Gardening, Tips by Jamie

Dogwood trees are commonly incorporated into landscaping designs for their aesthetic nature. With various species that have vibrantly colored branches, stems, and flowers, they can survive the seasons in most temperate climates. The watering needs of dogwood can vary slightly however they are generally similar.

Dogwood trees are not drought resistant and thrive in areas where the soil can be kept moist. Young dogwoods should be watered at least weekly until the root system is established. As mature plants, they can tolerate occasional dry weather but the soil should not be allowed to completely dry out.

While this is the general rule for watering dogwood trees, there can be some slight variances in condition preferences that are easy to follow.

How to Tell if Dogwood Trees Need Water?

When dogwood trees are dehydrated, you will notice that the leaves become dry and start to turn brown around the edges. The leaves may also start to fall and the color of the tree overall will be less vivid. This can happen during consecutive hot days without rain. If you start to notice this, deeply water the soil and the base of the tree to revive it.

How Do You Know When Your Dogwood Tree is Sufficiently Watered?

You will know your dogwood tree has been sufficiently watered based on a healthy growth rate (about one foot per year), vivid colorful stems, leaves, and flowers, and your tree should have an overall healthy appearance free of dry patches and discolored areas.

Keep in mind, that the appearance is subjective to the variety. For example, pink dogwood trees should produce pink flowers in the spring, green foliage during the summer, and deep burgundy leaves in the fall. Yellow-twig dogwood trees, on the other hand, look like shrubs with vivid yellow and green stems, producing white flowers in the spring and berries throughout the summer.

Can You Overwater Dogwood Trees?

If you are located in a temperate climate, natural rainy days should be enough to keep a mature dogwood tree alive however it is possible for dogwood trees to be overwatered. If the soil is constantly moist around the tree and the leaves start to turn into a faded green or light yellow color, your tree may be oversaturated with water.

What are Signs of an Overwatered Dogwood Tree?

Some signs of overwatered dogwood trees include soil that is constantly wet around the base of the tree and leaves that have discolored that are soft, fragile, and weak to touch. Dogwoods tend not to be drought resistant however and prefer conditions that are at least slightly moist at all times.

How Long Can a Dogwood Tree Go Without Water?

Pink dogwood flowers

A new dogwood tree should be watered at least weekly until the root system has been established. During periods of hot weather, they can be watered a couple of times per week. Mature dogwood trees can typically last over one week without rain or water. If there is an exceptionally dry season or drought, you should supplement the water supply to your dogwood tree by watering it with your garden hose, focusing the water around the soil and the base of the tree.

Should Dogwood Tree Soil Be Moist?

Dogwood trees are not considered to be drought resistant and tend to grow better in moist conditions. Established dogwood trees can typically last upwards of a week in dry hot conditions without rain but the soil should not be allowed to dry out completely for more than a day or two as a general rule of thumb.

Why is Dogwood Tree Turning Brown/Yellow?

You may notice discoloration in the leave of your dogwood tree or less vibrant branches and stems if your tree is severely dehydrated or if it has been overwatered. If a dogwood tree has been overwatered, the leaves will become soft, turning a pale yellow or green color.

If a dogwood tree is dehydrated, particularly in hot sunny weather, it can become prone to scorching which shows up as crisp brown and yellow foliage that will likely fall off of the tree.

Why Are My Dogwood Tree Leaves Falling?

If your dogwood tree leaves are falling and it is not late fall or winter, it could be due to overwatering, dehydration, or disease. When overwatered, the leaves of a dogwood tree will become a pale yellow or green color that are quite soft and flimsy.

When dehydrated, the foliage of a dogwood tree will start to become crispy and turn brown around the edges, also likely to fall off.  Lastly, certain species of dogwoods, such as the Cornus Kousa variety are prone to fungal diseases that are likely to kill the tree.

Do Dogwood Trees Need Fertilizer?

Dogwood trees have very few fertilizing needs if any. They tend to thrive in slightly acidic, rich, well-draining soil. If you feel that your dogwood tree would benefit from added nutrients to the soil, you can add compost periodically. Adding a layer of mulch around the base of the tree will also ensure the maintenance of soil hydration and nutrient levels for the tree.

How Much Sunlight Do Dogwood Trees Need?

Dogwood trees do well in areas that receive full or partial sun. Ideally, your dogwood trees should be planted in areas that receive morning sun and afternoon shade to protect the foliage from being scorched during peak hours of sun and heat. The sunlight also assists certain varieties, such as the red-twig dogwood, to attain its vibrant branch colors.

Will Temperatures and Humidity Affect Dogwood Trees?

Dogwood trees do well in temperate climates where the soil can remain rich and damp. Extreme heat and dry conditions can compromise the health of your dogwood trees which is why they should receive supplemental watering sessions should the season warrant it and be planted in areas where the soil will likely remain damp.

Will Dogwood Trees Survive in the Winter?

Dogwood trees will survive the winter with a few simple winterization tips. Any dead branches and areas of overgrowth should be trimmed away before the first frost. If you know the winter will be quite cold and harsh, you can add a few layers of mulch around the base of the tree and on top of the surrounding soil to act as a thermal insulator for the tree. Lastly, if your dogwood tree is still new and small, you can consider wrapping it to insulate it from the cold winter elements.

Will Dogwood Trees Survive in Direct Sunlight?

Dogwood trees prefer direct full or partial sunny conditions. Planting your dogwood trees in areas that receive the morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal for preventing scorched or discolored foliage. The direct sun also allows for the vibrant color development of the branches, flowers, and stems of some dogwood varieties.

Final Thoughts

Dogwood trees add vivid accents to your landscaping, making them a popular addition that will last throughout the seasons. Knowing the conditions these trees like to grow in will help you keep your dogwood trees looking and feeling their best. 

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About the Author

Jamie

Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.