White Flowering Dogwood Pruning Question

Amber16820April 5, 2013

I believe this is a white flowering dogwood tree. I just moved into this home and am beginning to landscape. I live in Ohio. Truthfully, I'm not even sure if I should keep this tree. It is very close to the garage as you can see and the branches are all fighting for the light. If you can tell on the left side one of the branches has actually grown into another branch at the top. My questions are: Is this tree worth keeping due to it's circumstances and bad placement? If so, how do I go about pruning it? I have no clue if I should leave the two branches that have grown together or try cutting one off or both? Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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I would just leave the tree as it is. You won't deal with a root problem with dogwoods and they don't need much of any pruning. Maybe just a few branches to promote healthier air circulation within the tree, but other than that you can just leave it alone

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 3:51PM
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I'm with him. Enjoy it while it lasts and prune any broken/diseased branches as they occur. The only branch I might prune ASAP is that crossing limb originating on the left fork trunk that crosses the right fork trunk close to the garage. That would depend on their propensity to rub on each other during wind and I would make the cut at the branch collar like in my pic.

If you decide to do this, take a close up photo of the branch collar so we can give you a more precise cutting line.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 4:08PM
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Thank you both for your replies. My apologies for not getting back with you sooner. We have been taking advantage of the nice weather and doing some other landscaping. I took another close up, as well as I could, of the two branches that are grown into each other. My worry is the branch that has been grown into may struggle after removing the problem branch. I am posting two photos in separate posts to get a better view. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 7:14PM
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Second view of connected branches.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 7:15PM
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If the tree is otherwise healthy, it will callus and compartmentalize the "fused" section and be better off for it IMO. Probably something you should do, actually and the sooner the better. If it hasn't leafed out yet, do it now or wait until after flowering.

Something like in the picture. You want to locate the branch collar, cut on the branch side of it, leaving it attached to the tree. The callus will progress much faster if the branch collar is left intact.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 9:30PM
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John, thank you for your response and detailed photo. You have been very helpful! We will be cutting the branch tomorrow :-)

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 9:38PM
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Glad I could help!

I would shorten the limb to be cut about a foot or two away from the final cut location before proceeding. I am not an expert by any means so you may want to wait until one of the other regulars chimes in on the exact final cut location advice :-)


    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 10:17PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Oh dear, anyone spot that poor mushroom tree across the road? Presumably a weeping cherry or similar given the bowl hair cut treatment. Why do people buy a tree with a beautiful form and then torture it into a different shape? If you want topiary use a suitable species.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 5:20AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

LISTEN TO ME ... i wasted the first 5 years at my first house.. trying to save.. and deal with.. all the NIGHTMARES the prior owners left me ...

and the happiest day of my life.. was the day i removed the last nightmare ...


but with trees.. and a new house.. observe it this year.. and see if your ID is actually correct ... and then make some decisions.. there usually no real hurry with trees.. its not like this one will kill you in your sleep ...

and i would NOT invest one cent in paying to have it pruned.. i would save that money for removal ....

its obviously been growing like that for a decade or so..no hurry to prune off crossing branches ...

so get rid of it.. sooner or later.. though i favor sooner.. say with/in 3 years.. DEPENDING on a proper ID ...


ps: it really seems.. based on these pix.. that it adds NOTHING to the landscape of the house.. except the suggestion.. to hardcore gardeners.. that it was planted way to close to the house.. is improperly pruned, due to such.. and overly mature ...

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 7:35AM
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Ken is just mad because he can't grow dogwood LOL

Dogwoods as large as yours DO add value to your property even if it is a little too close to the house. Certainly a tree worth keeping IMO. If you are considering cutting it down, I suggest keeping it one year to see it in flower and fall color to assess its value in your landscape before taking the axe to it.

It does look like I see several cornus florida like unopened flowers in the upper right of the first pic and the bark looks like a match so I think your ID is correct.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 9:09AM
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bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

There's one planted by a PO within 2 ft of a house in our neighborhood - just a terrible location. But each spring I'm reminded of why the current owners keep it.....

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 7:25PM
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