Kousa Dogwood

All About the Kousa Dogwood:

Scientific Nomenclature: Cornus kousa

Common Names: kousa dogwood, Chinese dogwood

Mature Height: 15–20 feet

Mature Spread: 15–20 feet

Growth Rate: Slow

Attracts Wildlife: Birds, small mammals and pollinators, including select bee species.

Messiness: Fruits mature in autumn and look similar to raspberries. Flowers will bloom in late spring and the showy bracts may drop shortly after. Leaves drop in autumn. Bark begins to exfoliate as the tree matures. 

Shape: Spreading

Native to Kentucky: No

Preferred Soils: Flourishes in well-drained clay or loam. Acidic (<6.0pH) soils are preferred. The tree can tolerate dry soils at times. It will not survive in persistently wet environments.

Screening: Not for use as a screening or privacy tree.

Drought Tolerance: Tolerant of some heat and more tolerant of drought than flowering dogwoods.

Coniferous or Deciduous: Deciduous

Pruning: Kousa dogwoods can be pruned in several ways depending on how you would prefer the tree to look. Visualize the tree in three different sections, the top section of the tree is the crown and the bottom section is mainly just the trunk. To encourage a shrub-like appearance, prune the top section of the tree with shears to promote new growth on the bottom of the tree. If a single-trunked, tree-like appearance is desired you can cut away the weakest of all the trunks and leave the strongest, promoting the tree to grow taller faster. Kousa dogwoods often have strong lateral growth, giving them a broad reach. To control this, branches in the middle section or densest portion of the tree should be pruned and brought in, rounding the trees appearance. All pruning should take place in late fall or early winter when the tree is dormant.

Climate Quick Facts:

Following being planted as a sapling, over 20 years one kousa dogwood will:

  • Sequester ~1,447 pounds of CO2.
  • Reduce stormwater runoff by 336 gallons.