If you’re trying to learn how to propagate dogwood trees (Cornus florida), you’ll be glad to know that the entire process is as easy as it is inexpensive. We guarantee that you won’t have a hard time growing a good number of dogwood trees in your British backyard and sharing a few more of these with your friends. You probably can’t wait to see your dogwood trees show off their gorgeous pink and white blooms during springtime.
3 Ways to Propagate Dogwood Trees
Classified as deciduous trees because they shed their leaves every year, dogwood trees tend to grow up to 30 feet tall and spread up to 35 feet in plant hardiness zones 5 to 9. Furthermore, these can be grown from seed, cuttings, as well as layering.
Method #1: Cuttings
You can propagate dogwood trees from both softwood or hardwood cuttings. Experts say that 3-inch terminal shoot tips with two sets of leaves make the best cuttings. Compared to other methods, your dogwood trees can root best when they’re grown from cuttings taken at the right time of the year.
In case you’re wondering, the right time to take softwood cuttings is during the summer. While you’re at it, be sure to take softwood cuttings from flexible branches that can snap when you bend them.
On the other hand, the best time to take hardwood cuttings is in the winter. Make sure that you accept these cuttings from hardened branches that have lost their flexibility.
Keep in mind that not all of your dogwood cuttings will become successful. For this reason, experienced UK gardeners recommend planting several cuttings instead of just a few.
Be sure to dip the cut ends in rooting hormone before you bury them in a pot that’s filled with rooting medium. Keep your cuttings moist and shield them from direct sunlight before they establish themselves. Although you’ll notice their roots developing within 4 to 8 weeks, it’s always a good idea to grow your new plants in a protected environment such as a semi-pro polytunnel and wait until the following spring before you can plant them outdoors.
Method #2: Layering
Compared to using cuttings, you’ll have a greater chance of success if you use the layering method. To do this, you need to take a flexible branch and bend it low enough until a portion of the branch is touching the ground. That particular portion is notched and treated with rooting hormone before it gets buried in the ground.
Meanwhile, the branch’s leafy end should extend above the ground to become the top of the new dogwood tree as soon as the buried branch begins to develop its roots. The layering method is best used with dormant wood during the early spring or with mature wood in the late summer. Be sure to keep the soil around the buried branch soft and moist until you begin to see the roots developing within several months. By early autumn or the following spring, you can cut away the rooted sections from the parent plants before you plant them in another location.
Method #3. Seeds
Although the seeds of dogwood hybrids are primarily sterile, you can easily find viable ones in the UK gardening stores. However, you can also choose to gather seeds from non-hybrid dogwood trees growing in the wild.
Keep in mind that dogwood trees need plenty of time for the stratification period before they start to germinate. When you want your seeds to germinate in March or April, you need to sow them outdoors in September or October.
You need to start your dogwood seeds in containers and keep them in a controlled environment for several months because newly-sprouted dogwood plants are weak and vulnerable to the sun and wind. When they become stronger, you may take them out of the protected environment and plant them outdoors.
Be sure to bury the seeds that are started in containers in a moist growing medium and place them at 35˚ to 41˚F for about 120 days for the stratification period. Next, you need to warm the seeds to about 60˚ to 80˚F to break its dormancy and promote germination.
What are the Things that You Need to Consider When Propagating Dogwood Trees?
Regardless of your choice of propagation method, the process of starting dogwood trees can take a lot of time. In most cases, growers have to wait for several months before they see a viable plant developing after they perform the layering method. Moreover, the germination process takes more than a year to complete if you start them from seeds.
However, it’s important to note that experts don’t recommend gathering seeds from a neighbour’s dogwood hybrid unless you’re willing to end up growing something else other than the actual copy of the parent tree. Seasoned gardening enthusiasts in the United Kingdom create hybrids to duplicate and maximise the parent plant’s specific traits that include flower production and disease resistance.
Propagate Your Dogwood Trees in a Semi-Pro Greenhouse!
Growing your dogwood trees in a semi-pro polytunnel is one of the best decisions you could make. Besides giving your tender dogwood plants the protection they need from harsh weather conditions, destructive pests, and harmful animals, it also allows you to manipulate the temperature and moisture levels in the enclosed space. Set up your semi-pro polytunnel to experience its excellent benefits.
Final Thoughts on How to Propagate Dogwood Trees
Now that you know how to propagate dogwood trees, consider growing them in your very own semi-pro greenhouse. Try your hand at polytunnel gardening in the UK today.