Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Riding up to Clemson recently, my husband and I couldn’t stop ohhing and ahhing about the beauty our native flowering dogwood, Cornus florida, in full bloom, gave to the woodlands bordering the highway. Dogwoods are naturally an understory small tree, occurring in open woods or along their margins.
In those settings, they have their shallow roots established in soils rich in leaf mold compost, soils that can hold water but offer good drainage. In filtered light conditions, dogwood branches gracefully reach outward to expose their leaves to sunlight, creating an open, loose canopy that lets you more fully appreciate the beauty of the scattered white blossoms. In a full sun setting, dogwood grow like a lollipop, all bunched up, with none of that softening relaxed aspect found in more natural settings, and they are more likely to suffer from drought and damage from lawn mowers.