The sad truth of the matter is that Native Dogwood trees are in a serious and widespread decline. While their native range covers much of the eastern United States, within that range, their wild habitat in North Florida is generally confined to locations that have deep loose soil near regular supplies of moisture. In the wild in our area you will most likely find Dogwoods growing near sinkholes, cold freshwater streams and rivers, and in other moist fertile soil.
The surprise is not that Dogwoods are in decline as our climate becomes warmer and more unpredictable, the real marvel is that they ever worked as a street tree in the first place.
The last 50 years that saw dogwoods planted all over the southeast along roadsides and in front yards was a period of remarkably consistent weather and ample rainfall. Due to the long period of a landscape friendly climate, it was perhaps the only time in modern history when the dogwood’s significant beauty would have ever been able to step out from the wet corners of the forests to beautify our cities and homes.
To find a replacement tree for our ailing and dying Dogwoods we must first decide what it is about that tree that makes it right for any specific location. What are the features of that tree that made it so loved? Then we can help you find a suitable replacement.
There are other trees that grow about the same size, flower in the spring, produce white flowers, and/or are native to our region. Keep in mind though, nothing will be exactly the same in all regards as the much loved Dogwoods.
Check out this list of possible replacement trees to see which ones might meet the right criteria for you.
|Name||Bloom Color||Season of interest||Average Height||Native status|
|Edible Plums||White||spring||15’||Native and non-native options|
|Little Ruby Dogwood||Pink||Summer||10’||Non-native|
|Chinese Fringe Tree||White||Spring||15’||Non-native|
|Native Fringe Tree / Grancy Greybeard||White||Spring||12’||Native|
|Native Crabapple||Pink & white||Spring||15’||Native|
|Chinese Pistache||Insignificant||Fall color is amazing||20’||Non-native|
|Edible Apples||Pink & White||Spring||15’||Non-native|
|Vitex Chaste Tree||Purple||Summer||12’||Non-native|
|Crape Myrtle||All colors||Summer||Many choices in the 15’ size||Non-native|
|Japanese Maples||Insignificant||Spring and fall foliage color is amazing||Many upright growers around 15’||Non-native|
Think about the spot where you are replacing a Dogwood and decide what features made that tree such a good choice for you. Then come in to Tallahassee Nurseries and let us help you find another great tree that meets your needs just as well.
*This article was written by Jonathan Burns (Tallahassee Nurseries Outdoor Manager, FNGLA Florida Certified Horticulture Professional)