The Cornus florida, more commonly known as the American dogwood tree, is a species of tree native to the northeastern United States. It is one of the most common trees in the area and it is also the state tree of Virginia and Missouri. The American dogwood is a relatively small deciduous tree that rarely exceeds heights of twenty five or thirty feet. It is commonly used in an ornamental fashion either on its own or as part of an arrangement with other trees.
Dogwood trees tend to grow outwards as much as they grow upwards, so it’s common for a tree to be wider than it is tall. This makes it perfect for growing a natural fence between properties. The dogwood is characterized by small greenish-yellow leaves which are dropped in the fall. The flowers of the American dogwood are small and white and feature four even petals. The flower of the American dogwood is the state flower of North Carolina. The dogwood produces small fruit called drupes, which ripen in the late summer. The fruit is called drupes because they feature a small pit surrounded by the flesh of the fruit. The drupes are green in the spring and early summer, but turn orange or red once they are ripe. The fruit is an important food source for birds, which not only eat the fruit, but also spread the seeds.
Dogwood trees grow best in moist soil with a high acid content. They have a very shallow root structure so they grow best in an area with moist soil. They prefer to have morning sunlight and shade in the afternoon. Dogwoods do not do well when exposed to strong sunlight or intense heat, so they generally do not grow well in the Southern hemisphere. The dogwood also has thin bark, making susceptible to both disease and fire. Dogwood anthracnose is a fungus that can be extremely damaging to the tree. Once the leaves have unfolded in the spring, the fungus causes brown spots to appear on the leaves. Eventually the fungus will work its way into the branches of the tree, causing them to die. Dogwood anthracnose can kill a healthy dogwood tree in as little as one year, but generally it takes up to three for the disease to run its course. Removing infected leaves as soon as possible can control the disease, but fungicide is necessary to stop it completely.
The American dogwood is also extremely susceptible to insects and damage from lawn mowers or weed whackers because of their thin bark. The wood of the American dogwood is extremely hard and has been used to serve a variety of purposes including golf club heads, wooden mallets, rakes, and butcher blocks.