How to Take Cuttings From a Dogwood to Start a Tree

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Many types of dogwood trees are easily grown from cuttings and do not require a lot of gardening skill. There is one notable exception--the red dogwood form, such as the red twig, does not propagate well from cuttings and will require a different process. But all other types of dogwood trees, including the flowering dogwood and pink dogwood, follow the same routine and care. Take your cuttings of dogwood to start a tree in late spring or early summer, and allow it to grow enough to be a sapling to be planted in the ground when autumn comes.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife or pruning Shears
  • Rooting medium
  • Select your dogwood tree wisely. Make sure it is healthy with abundant blooms and new growth. If you do not start your propagation from a healthy tree, then the chances are your new tree will not be healthy either. According to the USDA Forestry Service, using cuttings from younger trees is more successful than cuttings from mature trees. Make sure that the tree is not a sapling, but a young tree that has grown to its maturity.

  • Be ready to take your dogwood cuttings in June immediately after the first blooms of the season. Use tip cuttings from the ends of the branches. The new shoots that extend off the branches should be green and snap easily when bent. The leaves should be a mixture of mature and young leaves. Always use the shoot tips of new growth. You will not be able to propagate a dogwood tree from old wood.

  • Cut 6 inches of new shoots, about as thick as a pencil, with two to four leaves still attached. The shoots need to be sturdy when it is planted. Make a clean cut with a pair of sharp pruning shears or a sharp knife.

  • Trim your dogwood cutting by removing the leaves, except for two at the very top. Cut the bottom at an angle immediately below a leaf bud or node so that you have a stem of about 3 inches. Cutting below a node at the base of your cutting is important because it causes your dogwood to develop a callous to allow it to root.

  • Dip your cutting in a good rooting compound before planting in soil. Rooting compound can be found at any garden center. Choose one that is the appropriate strength for softwood cuttings. Read the label or ask a salesperson for assistance in getting the correct type that will help your dogwood cutting to root.

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