Cornus kousa, or the kousa dogwood tree, is a flowering dogwood native to Korea and Japan. It makes a lovely addition to the garden as a specimen tree, focal plant, or as a large flowering shrub. It makes a colorful addition to a woodland garden. In the spring, it produces small green flowers surrounded by four white bracts, sometimes tinged with pink. The flowers develop into raspberry-like fruits attractive to birds. In the fall, the leaves turn a dark purple-red color. This is a great tree for adding interesting color to the garden.
The kousa dogwood tree is a shade-loving plant although it can survive in full sun if given plenty of water. It prefers partial shade. It is not a drought or pollution tolerant plant so will do best in a suburban or rural environment where toxins are less likely to affect it. It has shallow roots so will require regular watering and heavy mulch to protect the roots and keep the moisture in. It likes fertile, well-drained, sandy soil so amend with sand and compost if necessary. It is resistant to the dogwood anthracnose and can handle lower temperatures than most other dogwood trees. It is hardy in USDA zones 5 through 8.
Choose a site with partial shade or full sun and amend soil as indicated above. Till a large planting bed as deep as possible and add several inches of compost. Till again to mix the soil and compost together. At the base of the tree, just above the root ball, there is a widening of the trunk. The tree should be planted so that this flari is just above the soil line. Do not plant the tree deeply or cover the top of the root ball.
When you remove the tree from the container or burlap wrapping, spread out the roots around the outside of the ball. Plant the tree, cover lightly with soil, and tamp down gently. Water well to remove air pockets and mulch with several inches of organic matter. Check the roots every day or two for the first month to see if the plant needs water. You want to keep your kousa dogwood tree moist but not wet. After the tree is established, water weekly for the first season. Be sure to maintain the mulch layer and provide extra water in hot or particularly dry seasons.