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About Cornus florida: Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers organically rich, acidic soils in part shade. Benefits from a 4-6″ mulch which will help keep roots cool and moist in summer. Difficult to transplant from the wild.
Flowering dogwood arguably may be the most beautiful of the native American flowering trees. Commonly seen in the wild, it is a small, deciduous tree which typically grows 15-30′ (infrequently to 40′) with a low-branching, broadly pyramidal but somewhat flat-topped habit. Blooms in early spring shortly after, but usually overlapping, the bloom period of the redbuds. The true dogwood flowers are actually tiny, yellowish green and insignificant, being compacted into button-like clusters. However, each flower cluster is surrounded by four showy, white, petal-like bracts which open flat, giving the appearance of a single, large, 3-4″ diameter, four-petaled, white flower. In autumn, the oval, dark green leaves (3-6″ long) gradually change to a uniform scarlet red. Bright red fruits (poisonous to humans, but loved by birds) mature in early fall and usually persist until the middle of December. The reddish brown wood is extremely hard, and has been used to make tool handles. Deer tolerant. Zones 5 to 9.