The Dogwood bush is considered fairly low maintenance when it comes to pruning, and there are advantages and disadvantages to the severity and frequency of pruning the Dogwood bush. However, since most shrub varietals of the Dogwood bush can tolerate frequent pruning, the margin for error for newer gardeners is more generous. Follow these simple tips from gardening experts to successfully prune your Dogwood bush.
As is the case for all shrubs, when to prune the Dogwood bush will depend entirely upon when flower buds form. All pruning, excepting the removal of damaged or diseased growth, should be done either before or after the buds form. In the case of Dogwood bush, the buds will appear in late spring and early summer, so as much as possible, pruning should be avoided during this season. The ideal times to prune a Dogwood bush are in early spring before the buds form, or in late summer after the buds have formed. This will ensure growing buds are not pruned away along with unwanted growth.
Maintenance pruning should be approached in a systematic fashion. First, prune away damaged, diseased, or dead growth, taking care at all times to avoid cutting away healthy buds. Next, evaluate growth since the last pruning and begin to shape the Dogwood bush to the desired height and width. Care should be taken not to cut back the plant too severely - the best rule of thumb is to cut back the shape no more than one third of the overall width and height. Finally, go through and select one third of the oldest, weakest branches to cut back more severely. Cut these branches back all the way to the crown or baseline of the plant, right at the soil line. This improves air circulation and stimulates new growth.