Dogwood tree zone 4

Where Have All The Dogwoods Gone?

Photo: Allen Rokach

If you live in the Southeast, you probably remember all the “dogwood trails” that people followed when our native flowering dogwoods bloomed each spring. Thirty years ago, dogwood was the #1 flowering tree. Sadly, no longer. The trails have steadily eroded until now we see only remnants. Where have all the dogwoods gone?

Answer: To that old compost pile in the sky. Dogwoods aren’t terribly long-lived as trees go. No dogwoods living today saw the Pharaoh build the Great Pyramid. But that’s not why you see only an occasional dogwood nowadays. It’s because when a dogwood died, folks replaced it with a tree they thought was easier. The crepe myrtle.

Think about it. Today, in many neighborhoods, you can scarcely pass by a single house that doesn’t have a crepe myrtle. And it’s easy to understand why. They bloom for a long time, offer many different colors, boast handsome bark if you don’t murder them, and tolerate drought and most soils. Plain and simple — they’re easier to grow than dogwoods.

Don’t Give Up On Dogwood But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try dogwoods. In Grumpy’s opinion, flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) still remains the best small tree for multi-season interest. Not just in the Southeast, either — for the Northeast and Midwest too. Showy blossoms of white, pink, or red appear in spring before the leaves. Here’s the common white shown off in a pretty vase below.

Image zoom emPhoto: Mindi Shapiro/em

And here’s a red one named ‘Cherokee Brave’ that’s planted in Grumpy’s front yard.

Image zoom emPhoto: Steve Bender/em

Dogwood is also one of the first trees to change color in fall. The leaves may turn scarlet like these below, but crimson or burgundy-red is more the norm.

Image zoom emFlowering dogwood is one of our finest native trees for blazing fall foliage. This one grows in Grumpy’s back yard. Photo: Steve Bender/em

After the leaves drop, bright red fruits are revealed that persist all fall and winter — until they’re gobbled by robins, cedar waxwings, and mockingbirds.

What A Dogwood Needs Contrary to popular belief, flowering dogwood grows just fine in full to partial sun. It’ll grow well in shade too, but it won’t bloom. The trick to growing it in full sun is giving loose, acid, fertile, moist soil — no rocks or clay — and extra water during hot, dry stretches. Soak the roots with a hose; don’t rely on lawn sprinklers. If you let the tree wilt, the leaves will scorch badly (brown and curl on the edges) and may not set flower buds. Also spread a generous layer of mulch under the tree (but don’t pile it up against the trunk) to cool the roots and keep the soil moist.

Why plant in sun in the first place? Because a happy tree in sun sets many more flowers.

More: What’s Wrong with My Dogwood

Recommended Selections When you visit the garden center, always buy container-grown trees that are named selections. These offer a guaranteed flower color, heavier and earlier blooming, and disease-resistance. Don’t settle for cheaper seed-grown trees simply labeled “white” or “pink.” Seed-grown trees may be gems or dogs — there’s no way to tell when you buy.

Here are some of Grumpy’s top picks.

‘Appalachian Spring’ and ‘Appalachian Joy.’ Large, white blooms. Fast growers. Disease resistant.

‘Cherokee Brave.’ Red blooms with white centers. Fast grower. Disease resistant.

‘Cherokee Chief.’ Red blooms, excellent performer, disease resistant.

‘Cloud 9.’ Showy white flowers. Blooms very young.

‘Pluribracteata.’ Double white blooms. Disease resistant.

‘Weaver’s White.’ Large, white blooms. Disease resistant.

Buy Colorado Fruit Trees, Nut Tree, Shade tree, Bamboo Plant, Grape Vines, Flowering Trees, and Berry Plants

Most Colorado gardeners and homeowners want to harvest a fruit nut or berry crop as soon as possible so that the apparent choice is to plant a large vine or tree or to set out a fast growing tree. When selecting a plant it is important to realize that a tree that grows fast is very susceptible to cold damage or death because the fast growing woody tissues do not deposit adequate amounts of cellulose or lignin that hardens the cell wall, thus, making it cold hardy.. A large number of Colorado fruit and nut trees can be grown in backyard gardens. Low Colorado temperatures of minus 20 degrees F. can be the most important factor in deciding which fruit tree will bear reliable crops of fruit. Sour (tart) cherry trees will normally withstand Colorado very cold temperatures and the red Montmorency cherry tree and the North Star red cherry are the top cherry tree selections to grow there. Both of these cherry trees are excellent choices to grow for making cherry pies and jelly, jam and cherry preserves. Apple trees such as the Red Rome or Arkansas Black apples will ripen in late Fall. Peach and Nectarine trees are not generally recommended for Colorado gardens, because peaches and Nectarine trees will often loose their fruit on the trees when late freezes come. Native growing, wild plum trees are cold hardy enough to produce delicious plums in early summer. Plum trees are valuable fruit trees for wildlife bird nesting, and the plum trees are great specimens for attracting and feeding wildlife animals. Several pear tree cultivars are cold hardy enough to fruit in Colorado, and the hard pears are perfect for wildlife deer feeding in late fall, when wildlife fruit, nuts and berries are scarce. The American native chestnut tree has been hybridized a heavy bearing nut tree with sweet kernels that is blight resistant that is adapted to grow in all Colorado climate zones.

Several oak trees such as the fast growing sawtooth oak tree will grow in zones 5 and 6 in CO., and others such as the Gobbler oak tree and the White oak trees are well adapted to produced wildlife animal food, and acorns are eaten by most wildlife deer and game birds. The Wildlife pear tree and the native American crabapple trees will produce wildlife fruit in zone 4, 5 and 6 of CO., and the American native persimmon trees and the Chickasaw plum tree will produce fruit in zones 5 and 6. The cold hardy wild pecan and the native hickory tree will grow in zone 4,5 and 6 of CO. Autumn olive trees and Ogeechee lime trees produce fall food supplies when wildlife food is scarce.
It is difficult to search for and find a cold hardy fig tree for USDA climate zone 5 and 6 that can be successfully grown outside and survive if properly mulched, but the Chicago Hardy fig tree is guaranteed to grow in CO,, and many other fig trees can be grown in greenhouses like the Japanese Green Ischau fig tree, the Black Mission fig trees and the Brown Turkey fig by ordering them from
Discover the best Colorado plants, vines and shade trees that will experience various amounts of serious cold weather, depending on what USDA cold zone that the garden is planted. Plants and shade trees in zone 3 and zone 4 must be carefully selected to avoid the freezing and killing of the ‘incorrect selection choice’ of a shade tree by cold temperatures in those frigid zones. The Red Maple tree, the Ginkgo tree, and the CO Sycamore trees are all suggested selections for zone 3 and 4, and the River Birch tree or flowering Japanese Magnolia trees will survive in zone 3 or 4. In zone 5 and 6 of Colorado, the winter temperatures are not as cold, and Ty Ty Nursery recommends planting the Bald Cypress tree, the colorful fall Sour Wood tree, (Sourwood) , and the Tulip Poplar trees. Sweet Gum Trees, Swamp Tupelo and Elm trees are often planted on the East or West side of a residence or office for maximum shade, and the trees will stop erosion and increase the value of your property, as well as lower your power-electric bill. The Lombardy poplar tree is a very fast growing shade tree, growing 8 or more feet the first season, and the Lombardy poplar tree is an excellent privacy screen plant and wind blocker. Find and purchase the best, high quality information and top tips and reviews at Ty Ty Nursery,
Several kinds of Colorado flowering trees will grow such as the dogwood tree, the redbud trees and the Aristocrat flowering pear tree that is very cold hardy.. Early flowering apricot trees and flowering crabapple trees bloom in colors of red, white and pink, and the crabapple tree can also be found with red leaves, like the red flowering plum tree. The pink, Kwanzan flowering Japanese cherry tree is spectacular, with flowers covering the entire canopy of the tree, and the white Yoshino flowering cherry tree flower opens with single petal blooms.

Thorny and hybrid thornless bramble blackberry plants that are similar to grocery store blackberries and can be grown in your own berry garden, and the new hybrid blackberry plants that were developed at the University of Arkansas berry as a research blackberry project show great promise for increasing berry production with high quality berries at pick-you-own, organic blackberry farms. Colorado berry gardeners are demanding berry plants that produce organic berries in Colorado, berries that can be grown without using inorganic fertilizers and without using insecticide chemicals and fungicides.

Great interest has been shown in growing cold hardy grapevines, such as the seedless red flame grapevine, concord blue grape vine and the Bunch, Niagara white grape vines. The red Catawba grapevine produces large clusters of red wine grapes that also are popular in grape jelly making, grape juice and for enjoying to eat as table grapes. The black Fredonia bunch grape is an excellent cold hardy table grape that makes excellent red wine.

Windmill palm trees are cold hardy palms that will survive the severe Colorado winters, and these palms grow into that tropical look is important when considering pool and patio landscapes. The windmill palm tree survives very cold winters and even the ice and snow even in Switzerland and Canada. Bamboo plants such as the black bamboo plant clumping type and will form an excellent, dense, privacy fence that will keep eliminate sounds from noisy neighbors and automobile highway noises and toxic fumes. The Chinese Golden Goddess bamboo plant is a colorful border plant, as are the Blue Henon bamboo plants and the Alphonse Karr, striped, variegated bamboo tree.

Whether you are a gardener in Pueblo, Colorado Springs (Fort Carson) or Denver, Colorado, bamboo plants are important to plant as fast growing bamboo screens that will protect your privacy and block out fumes and loud noise from automobiles. In Colorado bamboo plants must be planted that are cold tolerant and can survive cold winter temperatures of 20 F degrees below zero. Clumping hedges of bamboo can grow thick and dense up to 20 feet tall in beautifully colors of stalks with exteriors of blue, yellow or black, and the leaves and stems can we inlaid with random streaks of variegation that can extend into the leaves. It’s easy to grow bamboo plant privacy fences, if you plant them in full sun or partial shade with a modified organic damp soil. You can order bamboo plant screens from Ty Ty bamboo nursery, that will immediately be shipped to you in boxes and delivered directly to your house any time of the year.
For people who live in Colorado, Yucca trees, Agave plants and Aloe plants are confined to grow them in containers except for the Yuccas that will survive the cold temperatures in winter in zone 5 and 6. The Red Yucca plant Hesperaloe parviflora,has red foliage during the winter with orange 3 ft flower stems in the spring. The Spanish Bayonet, Yucca gloriosa, grows up to 16 feet tall, the Joshua Tree, Yucca brevifolia, has a unique unearthly shape and can grow over 1000 years old, and the Yucca rostrata, is an exceptionally cold hardy survivor. The Color Guard Yucca, Yucca filamentosa ‘Color Guard’ is variegate with stripes of yellow and white vibrant colors. Very few Agave plants armed with their prickly, spiny leaves and fleshy thick and thorny with strange uncanny shapes, can be grown outside in CO, but can be containerized or grown in dish gardens during the winter. The Aloe vera is an important container plant with a juice that can heal insect stings, bites or wounds to the skin.

Echter’s Plant Finder

Chinese Dogwood in bloom

Chinese Dogwood in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Chinese Dogwood flowers

Chinese Dogwood flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Chinese Dogwood in fall

Chinese Dogwood in fall

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

* This is a “special order” plant – contact store for details

Height: 25 feet

Spread: 25 feet


Hardiness Zone: 4b

Other Names: Kousa Dogwood


A truly beautiful specimen tree for the home landscape, with large, showy white flowers in spring and a strongly horizontal habit of growth; very particular as to siting, requires rich, well-drained acidic soil and adequate precipitation

Ornamental Features

Chinese Dogwood features showy clusters of white flowers with white bracts held atop the branches in late spring. It features an abundance of magnificent pink berries from early to mid fall. It has bluish-green foliage throughout the season. The pointy leaves turn an outstanding brick red in the fall. The peeling gray bark adds an interesting dimension to the landscape.

Landscape Attributes

Chinese Dogwood is a multi-stemmed deciduous tree with a stunning habit of growth which features almost oriental horizontally-tiered branches. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This is a relatively low maintenance tree, and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season’s flowers. It is a good choice for attracting birds to your yard. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Chinese Dogwood is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Shade

Planting & Growing

Chinese Dogwood will grow to be about 25 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 25 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 3 feet from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more.

This tree does best in full sun to partial shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is very fussy about its soil conditions and must have rich, acidic soils to ensure success, and is subject to chlorosis (yellowing) of the leaves in alkaline soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This species is not originally from North America.

* This is a “special order” plant – contact store for details

Zone 4 Dogwood Trees – Planting Dogwood Trees In Cold Climates

There are more than 30 species of Cornus, the genus to which dogwoods belong. Many of these are native to North America and are cold hardy from United States Department of Agriculture zones 4 to 9. Each species is different and not all are hardy flowering dogwood trees or bushes. Zone 4 dogwood trees are some of the hardiest and can bear temperatures of -20 to -30 degrees Fahrenheit (-28 to -34 C.). It is important to choose the right species of dogwood trees for zone 4 to ensure their survival and continued beauty in your landscape.

About Cold Hardy Dogwood Trees

Dogwoods are known for their classic foliage and colorful flower-like bracts. The true flowers are insignificant, but many species also produce ornamental and edible fruits. Planting dogwood trees in cold climates requires some knowledge of the plant’s hardiness range and a few tricks to help protect the plant and help it survive some seriously cold weather without damage. Zone 4 is one of the coldest USDA ranges and dogwood trees need to be adaptable to extended winters and freezing temperatures.

Cold hardy dogwood trees can withstand winters in zones as low as 2 in some cases, and with suitable protection. There are some species, such as Cornus florida, that can only survive in zones 5 to 9, but many others can thrive in truly cold climes. Some trees that are planted in cold regions will

fail to produce the colorful bracts but still produce lovely trees with their smooth, elegantly curved leaves.

There are many hardy dogwood trees for zone 4 but there are also bushy forms, such as Yellow Twig dogwood, which provide attractive foliage and stems. In addition to hardiness, the size of your tree should be a consideration. Dogwood trees span heights from 15 to 70 feet but are more commonly 25 to 30 feet tall.

Types of Zone 4 Dogwood Trees

All species of dogwood prefer zones below USDA 9. The majority are actually perfect for cool to temperate climates and have remarkable cold resilience even when ice and snow are present in winter. The twiggy shrub-like forms are generally hardy down to zone 2 and would perform nicely in USDA zone 4.

Trees in the Cornus family are usually not quite as hardy as the shrub forms and range from USDA zone 4 to 8 or 9. One of the prettiest hardy flowering dogwood trees is native to eastern North America. It is the Pagoda dogwood with variegated foliage and alternating branches that give it an airy, elegant feel. It is hardy in USDA 4 to 9 and remarkably adaptable to a range of conditions. Other choices might include:

  • Pink Princess – 20 feet tall, USDA 4 to 9
  • Kousa – 20 feet tall, USDA 4 to 9
  • Cornelian cherry – 20 feet tall, USDA 4 to 9
  • Northern Swamp dogwood – 15 feet tall, USDA 4 to 8
  • Rough Leaf dogwood – 15 feet tall, USDA 4 to 9
  • Stiff dogwood – 25 feet tall, USDA 4 to 9

Canadian bunchberry, common dogwood, Red Osier dogwood and the Yellow and Red twig varieties are all small to medium sized shrubs that are hardy in zone 4.

Planting Dogwood Trees in Cold Climates

Many dogwood trees tend to send up several branches from the base, giving them a rather unkempt, shrubby appearance. It is easy to train young plants to a central leader for a tidier presentation and easier maintenance.

They prefer full sun to moderate shade. Those grown in full shade can get leggy and fail to form colored bracts and flowers. Trees should be planted in well-draining soil with average fertility.

Dig holes three times as wide as the root ball and water them well after filling in around roots with soil. Water daily for a month and then bi-monthly. Dogwood trees do not grow well in drought situations and produce the prettiest visages when given consistent moisture.

Cold climate dogwoods benefit from mulching around the root zone to keep soil warm and prevent competitive weeds. Expect the first cold snap to kill leaves, but most forms of dogwood have lovely skeletons and occasionally persistent fruit which adds to the winter interest.

Dogwood Trees

Flowering Dogwood Trees, Cornus florida, are modestly sized deciduous trees that are the best known as harbingers of spring. The striking beauty of this very recognizable tree gets the attention of homeowners and landscapers. Flowering Dogwood Trees are available in many sizes, colors, and shapes. The flowers blossom on the trees in early spring. While the Cornus florida is a beautiful landscape plant it is also an important wildlife tree. Squirrels and deer and some 28 bird species eat the fruit. Properly located dogwood trees can live up to 80 years of age.
Flowering Dogwood Trees height ranges from about 15 to 30 feet tall, depending on the cultivar. The trunks are not large and they are short with many spreading branches. Flowering Dogwood Tree leaves are attractive. They grow to about 5 inches long and about 2 inches wide. The undersides are a pale green. Flowering Dogwood Trees are truly a 4 season tree. Spring brings gorgeous flowers, summer brings attractive foliage, fall brings a delightful show of red colored leaves, and winter brings a plant barren of leaves with unique branching and bark for winter interest.
The Flowering Dogwood Trees is highly prized and widely used because it is so adaptable. The tree thrives in many soil types and growing conditions. The Dogwood Tree is relatively small size and high volume of flowers make it a popular landscaping choice.

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