How to Prune a Dogwood

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

If your dogwood looks leggy, it may be time for a pruning. Find out how to prune a dogwood tree properly with this step-by-step guide.

Checkout this video:


Pruning is a horticultural practice that alters the shape and growth of a plant. It involves the selective removal of certain parts of the plant, such as branches, buds, or roots. Pruning often takes place for the purposes of aesthetics, utility, or health.

What is a Dogwood?

A Dogwood is a deciduous shrub or small tree, typically with bright green foliage in spring and summer, and red or purple foliage in fall. The name “dogwood” is derived from the Old English dagwood, dage, or dagga – meaning “dagger” or “pointed wood”, referring to the sharp, pointed tips of its leaves. Dogwoods are known for their showy flowers which bloom in early spring. Some species also produce edible fruits which are enjoyed by birds and humans alike.

Dogwoods can be found in a variety of habitats including woodlands, hedgerows, and gardens. They are relatively easy to care for and make an excellent addition to any landscape. When pruning a dogwood, it is important to know what type of pruning will best suit your plant’s needs. Here are some tips on how to prune a dogwood:

1. Dogwoods can be pruned either in the spring or fall. If you live in an area with cold winters, it is best to wait until late spring or early summer to prune your dogwood so that it has time to heal before the first frost.
2. When pruning a dogwood, always use clean, sharp tools. This will help prevent infection and damage to the plant.
3. When shaping your dogwood, make sure to leave enough leaves on the stems so that the plant can photosynthesize properly – too much pruning can stress the plant and cause it to become sickly or die outright.
4. Dogwoods can be susceptible to a variety of diseases and pests – if you notice any signs of infestation or illness, consult with a qualified professional before attempting to treat the problem yourself.

By following these simple tips, you can keep your dogwood looking its best for many years to come!

Why Prune a Dogwood?

Prune a dogwood tree for one or more of the following reasons:
-To shape or train the tree.
-To rejuvenate an old or overgrown tree.
-To control the size of the tree.
-To remove dead, diseased, or damaged branches.

The best time to prune a dogwood tree is in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins.

When to Prune a Dogwood?

Pruning a dogwood at the wrong time of year can ruin its chances for a bountiful spring bloom.

To get the best flowering, prune dogwoods immediately after they finish blooming. This allows the plant to put its energy into producing buds for next year’s flowers instead of into making seeds.

If you must prune at another time of year, do it in late winter or early spring, before the plant breaks dormancy and begins to grow.

How to Prune a Dogwood?

Pruning a dogwood (Cornus spp.) is usually done in late winter or early spring, before the plant breaks dormancy and begins to grow. Depending on the size and age of the plant, as well as the desired look, there are different methods of pruning. Read on to learn more about how to prune a dogwood.

Step 1: Wait until late winter or early spring to prune your dogwood. This is because the plant is still dormant at this time and won’t bleed if cut.

Step 2: If you want to encourage branches to grow in a certain direction, make your cuts just above a bud that’s pointing in the desired direction.

Step 3: To produce more flowers, remove any shoots that are longer than 6 inches (15 centimeters). These are typically found near the base of the plant.

Step 4: Cut away any dead or diseased wood with sterilized pruning shears. Dispose of this wood immediately so that you don’t spread disease to other parts of the plant.

Step 5: To control the size or shape of your dogwood, make heading cuts (shortening long branches back to a side branch) or thinning cuts (removing selected branches back to their point of origin). As with all pruning cuts, be sure to sterilize your shears between each cut to avoid spreading disease.


Pruning a dogwood is not difficult, but it is important to follow the proper steps to ensure the health and beauty of your tree. With a little care and attention, you can keep your dogwood looking its best for many years to come.

Photo of author

About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


HayFarmGuy - Get Info About Farm Animals in Your Inbox

Leave a Comment