Cornus trees, often referred to as Dogwood bushes, are perennial flowering shrubs that can grow well with just minimal trimming, but respond well to heavier trimming if a certain shape or size is desired. The important thing about trimming Dogwood bushes is to understand when and how to trim for best results and to avoid causing injury to the shrub as it grows. Follow these tips from gardening experts to successfully trim Dogwood bushes for best results.
For best results, trim Dogwood bushes only in the early spring season before new growth has begun to form. Alternately, trimming can be done in the late summer or early fall season after the bloom season has completed. Avoid trimming Dogwood bushes too late in the fall season or the bush may be injured when newly trimmed wounds encounter the cold and frost of winter. Additionally, trimming Dogwood bushes should be avoided in the mid spring to mid-summer when the bush is in bloom.
There are several techniques to successfully trim Dogwood bushes. Light maintenance trimming to simply remove damaged or diseased growth, or deadhead blossoms, can be done at any time during the year. However, more extensive maintenance trimming should be done at a maximum of once annually. To begin the annual trimming, first examine the Dogwood bush for any signs of damaged, diseased, or dead foliage, and remove this. Also check around the trunk and remove shoots, weeds, and debris that may otherwise cause decay or attract pests. Next, examine the tree for balance in shape to decide where to prune. Always make pruning cuts above a notch or "node" in the branch and make the cut diagonally approximately one fourth inch above the node. This will both minimize injury to the branch and encourage fuller return growth.