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Cornus florida ‘Appalachian Spring’ (Flowering Dogwood)

Flowering Dogwood 'Appalachian Spring', Appalachian Spring Flowering Dogwood

Appalachian Spring dogwood, Cornus florida Appalachian Spring, Flowering Dogwood Appalachian Spring

Cornus florida ‘Appalachian Spring’ is a unique cultivar of the flowering dogwood tree. It was bred for disease resistance and boasts a beautiful, rounded canopy of dark green leaves. In the spring, it erupts in a profusion of showy white blossoms that captivate both gardeners and nature lovers alike. In summer, its canopy of layered branches provides shade and beauty. In the fall, it offers spectacular bright color when its foliage turns red and purple. Light gray and smooth when young, the bark becomes gray-brown and develops a distinctive pattern that looks like alligator skin as the tree matures, adding interest to the winter landscape.

Native: This cultivar is a selection of the native Cornus florida, indigenous to the forests of eastern North America. ‘Appalachian Spring’ carries all the charm of its native parent but adds the benefit of increased resistance to Dogwood Anthracnose.

Plant Type and Habit: It is a deciduous tree with a broad, rounded habit. Its graceful, horizontal branches give it a tiered appearance, making it an eye-catching focal point in any landscape.

Size: A mature ‘Appalachian Spring’ can reach heights of 15-20 feet (4.5 to 6 meters) and a similar spread. It is considered a small to medium-sized tree, perfect for suburban gardens or smaller landscapes.

Flowers: The tree produces iconic white bracts surrounding a small cluster of yellow-green flowers. These are not the true petals but serve the same purpose: acting like a beacon for pollinators. The blossoms give way to rounded, glistening red fruit in summer, which may persist until late in the year unless devoured by hungry birds.

Bloom Time: The blooming period is in the spring, usually from April to May, slightly before the full development of the leaves, enhancing the floral display.

Foliage: The leaves are dark green, oval, and provide a dramatic backdrop to the white flowers. In autumn, the foliage turns to brilliant shades of red and purple, offering additional seasonal interest.

Hardiness: ‘Appalachian Spring’ is hardy in USDA zones 5-9. Its strong resistance to Dogwood Anthracnose makes it a more viable option in areas where the disease is prevalent.

Uses: This tree is versatile and suitable for solitary planting, but it also works well in small groupings in woodland gardens, along property borders, or even as an understory tree in larger landscapes.

Wildlife: Like its parent species, it provides nectar and pollen for native bees and other pollinators. The berries attract a variety of birds, including cardinals and robins.

Deer and Rabbits: It has some level of deer resistance, but rabbits may nibble on the lower branches and foliage. Protective measures may be needed in areas with high rabbit populations.

Toxicity: The fruit of Cornus florida is toxic to humans.

Benefits: Aside from its aesthetic appeal, it offers environmental benefits like erosion control and providing habitat for native fauna. Its disease resistance also means less reliance on chemical treatments, making it an eco-friendly choice.

‘Appalachian Spring’ offers a medley of features that make it a darling in American gardens. It embodies the natural beauty of its native parent, Cornus florida, but with added resilience, ensuring it remains a garden favorite for years to come.

How to Grow and Care for Flowering Dogwood

Cornus florida, commonly known as Flowering Dogwood, is a beloved native tree to the eastern United States. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to grow and care for this garden gem:

Sunlight: Cornus florida performs best in partial sun to partial shade. While it can tolerate full sun, excessive direct sunlight can scorch the leaves and stress the tree, making it more susceptible to diseases. Ideally, find a spot that provides morning sun and afternoon shade for optimal growth.

Soil Preparation: Cornus florida prefers well-drained, slightly acidic to neutral soil. Prepare the planting area by mixing organic matter or compost to improve soil quality.

Planting: The best time to plant Flowering Dogwood is in the fall or early spring when the tree is dormant. Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball and as deep as the root ball itself. Plant the tree at the same depth it was growing in its container, and water thoroughly after planting.

Watering: Cornus florida prefers consistent moisture, especially during its first year. Water deeply once a week, more often during dry spells.

Fertilization: Fertilize with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the early spring. Too much fertilizer can lead to excessive growth and decreased resistance to diseases and pests.

Pruning: Prune in late fall or winter when the tree is dormant. Remove dead or diseased branches and shape the tree as desired. Pruning helps improve air circulation, reducing the risk of diseases like Dogwood Anthracnose.

Mulching: Apply a 2-3 inch (5-7 cm) layer of mulch around the base of the tree but avoid contact with the trunk. Mulch helps retain soil moisture and suppresses weeds.

Propagation:

  • Cuttings: Take softwood cuttings in late spring or early summer. Dip the cut end into rooting hormone and plant in a mix of perlite and peat moss. Keep the soil moist until roots develop.
  • Layering: In early spring, choose a low-growing branch and bury a small section of it underground while still attached to the parent plant. Once roots have formed, it can be severed from the parent and transplanted.

Pest and Disease Management

By following these guidelines, your Cornus florida should thrive, providing beautiful blossoms in the spring, lush greenery in the summer, and stunning fall colors to be admired year after year.

Dogwood Trees: Add Vibrant Beauty to Your Landscape


Want to learn how to grow and care for a Dogwood tree like a pro? Follow these simple steps and enjoy the beauty of these charming plants.

Requirements

Hardiness 5 - 9
Heat Zones 3 - 8
Climate Zones 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Cornaceae
Genus Cornus
Common names Flowering Dogwood, Dogwood
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 15' - 20'
(4.6m - 6.1m)
Spread 15' - 20'
(4.6m - 6.1m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Fruit & Berries
Tolerance Deer, Clay Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow, Traditional Garden, Informal and Cottage
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Do I Need?
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Cornus alternifolia Golden Shadows® (Pagoda Dogwood)
Cornus sanguinea ‘Winter Flame’ (Bloodtwig Dogwood)
Cornus sanguinea Arctic Sun® (Bloodtwig Dogwood)
Cornus sericea Arctic Fire® Red (Redtwig Dogwood)
Cornus florida ‘Cherokee Sunset’ (Flowering Dogwood)
Cornus alba Creme de Mint (Tatarian Dogwood)

Recommended Companion Plants

Chionanthus virginicus (Fringe Tree)
Calycanthus floridus (Carolina Allspice)
Aesculus pavia (Red Buckeye)
Hamamelis virginiana (Virginian Witch Hazel)
Callicarpa americana (American Beautyberry)
Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud)

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Attractive Shrubs and Trees with White Fruits and Berries
Shrubs and Trees with Colorful and Distinctive Twigs in Winter
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 5 - 9
Heat Zones 3 - 8
Climate Zones 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Cornaceae
Genus Cornus
Common names Flowering Dogwood, Dogwood
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 15' - 20'
(4.6m - 6.1m)
Spread 15' - 20'
(4.6m - 6.1m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Fruit & Berries
Tolerance Deer, Clay Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow, Traditional Garden, Informal and Cottage
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Cornus (Dogwood)
Guides with
Cornus (Dogwood)
Not sure which Cornus (Dogwood) to pick?
Compare Now

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