Cornus kousa (kousa dogwood) is a beautiful ornamental shrub that is not quite as common because its popular comparative, Cornus florida (flowering dogwood). If you’re looking for a spring bloomer for your lawn, a kousa dogwood will provide you amazing bracts for four to six weeks, some downright Dr. Seussian berries in summer time, some vibrant fall color and, as it ages, gorgeous exfoliating mottled bark to admire during the winter. Continue reading if you want to get to know the kousa dogwood better.
The New York Botanical Garden
Botanical name: Cornus kousa
Common titles: Kousa dogwood; Korean, Chinese or Japanese dogwood
USDA zones: 5 to 8 (find your zone)
Water condition: Consistent moisture
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Mature size: 20 to 30 feet tall with an equal spread since it matures
Benefits and tolerances: The biggest tolerance of notice is that the kousa interrupts anthracnose disease, which plagues flowering dogwood. It prefers moist, and well-drained soils but may withstand dry and compact soils.
Seasonal interest: Lovely bracts in the spring, fruits in summer, reddish-purple foliage in fall
When to plant: Following the last frost in the spring
Distinguishing traits. Kousa dogwood is famous for being more upright than its comparative, flowering dogwood (C. florida). But as it ages, it will spread out from a vase shape into a round form. Those blooms you know and love are now bracts underneath smaller yellow-green flowers.
The New York Botanical Garden
These bracts show up at the spring and last for about six weeks since the tree leafs out, eventually turning pink with age till they drop off.
From the late summer or early fall, kousa sprouts pink edible fruits. They’re bumpy-looking berries around 1/2 inch in diameter. Once mature, they aren’t too bad. (Could you tell they’re not my personal favorite?)
As they ripen, they make more pink, turning into a dark cherry shade. These berries are the easiest way to differentiate kousa from other dogwood species.
From the fall, kousa dogwood’s leaves turn a brilliant reddish-purple. In the winter, the absence of leaves reveals lovely bark that exfoliates with age, which is just another distinctive trait.
How to utilize it. Kousa dogwood is a wonderful ornamental tree to your lawn. Use it as a specimen tree or in a grove. Because it is tolerant of shade, you might also use it at the edge of a woodland.
If you would like to maintain your dogwood’s flowering season going as long as possible, utilize it with flowering dogwoods, as kousas will bloom about a month later than flowering dogwoods.
Planting notes. Make sure that your soil is loose, fertile and well drained. Till a nice area that is at least three times the size of your root chunk.
Dig a hole twice as wide and as deep as the root ball. Loosen up its roots and place it in the pit. Fill the remainder of the hole back with soil and tamp it down. When the remainder of the pit is half filled with dirt, add water and let it drain before filling it the remainder of the way.Water it thoroughly and add a couple inches of mulch; nonetheless, don’t let the mulch touch the trunk of this tree.
More: Read more great layout plants