Do Dogwoods Need Full Sun?: Dogwood Light Requirements

Dogwood trees stand as one of the most beautiful trees you can grow in your yard. Its somewhat tame growth habit and stunning flowers make growing dogwood well worth it, and the truth is that you don’t need to put too much effort.

As far as light needs are concerned, do dogwoods need full sun, or can they thrive in the shade? Let’s take a look at sun requirements for dogwood trees.

Can Dogwood Trees Grow in Full Sun?

do dogwoods need full sun

To answer the question, dogwoods do not really need full sun but they can tolerate such conditions. Dogwood trees can grow in areas that get direct sunlight all day. However, you must be vigilant and water them regularly, especially in hot weather and during the summer season.

Dogwoods grow best in partial sun or shade, or in a spot in your yard or garden that gets around four hours of direct sun. Morning sunlight and afternoon shade are ideal for dogwoods, but the other way around (shade in morning and afternoon sun) also works well.

The general rule to follow is to provide more water the more your dogwood gets sun. Dogwood trees are not very tolerant of drought and heat, and too little irrigation can lead to reduced foliage and flowering. To conserve water and so you won’t have to get out as often you can add an inch or two of mulch around your dogwood.

Can Dogwoods Grow in Shade?

do dogwoods need full sun

Dogwoods are not shade trees and will not like it when you plant them where they get full shade. Growth will be slowed and you won’t enjoy as many blooms as those that get a few hours of sunlight.

Balancing sunlight and watering requirements may seem tricky at first, but it becomes easier as time goes by. That said, if you intend to plant your dogwood tree in full sun then you must make sure to provide enough water so the soil does not get bone dry. The same goes for dogwoods that are planted in partial shade- give them well-draining soil but keep it constantly moist.

Generally speaking, young dogwood trees and saplings require more water compared to mature species. You can gradually decrease watering as your dogwood reaches its maximum height and adapts to the environment.

Dogwood Tree Growing Zone and Native Habitat

Dogwoods are typically found under taller trees, which explains why they can thrive in partial sunlight and shade. Dogwood trees generally get dappled sunlight, which is light that passes through the cracks in the canopy of larger tree species.

In the US, dogwoods are hardy in zones 3 through 8. In zones 8 and above these plants will need more frequent watering or else the soil quickly dries up and dogwoods lose their vigor. In zones 3 or 4, some protection from hard frosts and freezing winds may be required.

Since dogwoods are native to North America they can adapt well to those climates, even if there are slight deviations. This explains why these tree species can take full sunlight.

Alongside providing the needed amount of sunlight, you will have to make sure the soil your dogwood is sitting on is well-drained and doesn’t collect water for extended periods.

For those living in arid and dry environments, supplement with additional watering so your dogwood can stay healthy and vigorous.

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