Pruning a pagoda dogwood

(Question)

Can I prune a pagoda dogwood now (ie in June) or do I have to wait until next spring? The perennials planted below are being badly shaded and I wanted to remove the lower branches.

 

(Answer)

It is generally recommended that dogwoods are pruned when the tree is dormant, in late fall or winter.  Pruning it now, as it is or about to flower, will likely result in messy sap dripping from the wounds created.  It may also impact the plant’s flowering, but more importantly, it stresses the tree and makes it more susceptible to disease and damage by boring insects.  Flowering dogwood, when stressed, is susceptible to a rather large number of disease problems, the most serious of which is dogwood anthracnose.

It is true that you may want to remove the lowest branches of the tree at some point in the future to allow more air circulation, light, and for your underplanted perennials to thrive.  An article that you may find useful, including information on how to make your pruning cuts can be found at Gardening Know How:

Trimming Dogwood Trees: Tips On How To Prune A Flowering Dogwood Tree

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