The Best Dogwood Tree to Grow in Pennsylvania

Dogwoods are native to Pennsylvania.
Dogwoods are native to Pennsylvania. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Two dogwoods grow well in Pennsylvania's climate, the native flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) and the Chinese or Kousa dogwood (C. kousa). There are advantages and disadvantages to growing both trees. (ref 4)

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Native Dogwoods

Flowering dogwood blooms before the leaves emerge in the spring. Growing about 15 feet tall, it produces bright-red berries and has brilliant-red fall color. Unfortunately, native dogwoods are susceptible to dogwood anthracnose, a fungal disease, especially when grown in shade.

Pink cultivars of flowering dogwood are available.
Pink cultivars of flowering dogwood are available. (Image: dogwood bloom image by robert mobley from

Kousa Dogwood

Kousa dogwood, also known as Chinese dogwood, is a 20-foot, vase-shaped tree that grows well in sun or light shade. The white flowers appear after the tree has leafed out and are followed by red fruit that looks like big raspberries. Fall foliage color is more muted than on native dogwoods. Kousa dogwood has no serious pest or disease problems.

Kousa dogwoods have pointed petals.
Kousa dogwoods have pointed petals. (Image: dogwood bloom image by Jon Yuschock from


Which dogwood is best for you depends on your landscape. If you're in an urban area, Kousa dogwoods are more tolerant of urban conditions. They're also a better choice if dogwood anthracnose is prevalent in your area. Choose the native flowering dogwood if you like a natural-looking landscape, as it blends well with other native trees and shrubs. Site it in full sun to discourage anthracnose.


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