Nothing says spring rather like a well-shaped tree covered with bright blossoms. Although dozens of beautiful, spring-flowering trees exist, dogwoods and cherry trees are two of the very ornamental. Both are appealing as specimen trees and work well in mixed plantings or in the edge of a wooded area. However, some differences in growth pattern, flowers and ethnic needs may make the other tree much better suited to your landscape.
There are many varieties of dogwoods (Cornus sp.) , but all share a few common attributes. In general, they are about 15 to 20 feet tall at maturity, though they may become taller when grown in colour. Guided slow-to-moderate in growth rate, dogwoods develop a low-branching, gracefully spreading shape that can be somewhat flattened at the top. Their flowers, normally a pure white but pink in certain cultivars, are actually bracts that surround the tiny true flowers. At the common flowering dogwood (C. florida), blossoms precede leaves, covering the bare-branched tree in white flowers in April or May. At the Korean dogwood (C. kousa), bright-green leaves appear first, making a contrasting background for the white bracts, which open in May or even June.
Ornamental cherry trees (Prunus sp.) Are sometimes called Japanese cherry trees since they originated in Japan and other parts of Asia. Like dogwoods, many types of cherry trees can be found, however all are famous for their abundant clusters of white or pink, multipetaled flowers that blanket the tree in April. Both commonly grown varieties, the Japanese flowering cherry (P. serrulata) and the higan cherry (P.subhirtella), have a vaselike shape, spreading from a narrow bunch of main branches into a broad crown. They can reach a height of 50 feet or more, much taller than a dogwood, and do best when given a lot of room to expand.
Dogwoods and flowering cherry trees are usually similar in hardiness. Dogwoods are suitable for U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 comprehensive 8 or 9, depending on the variety, while Japanese cherries do best in zones 4 or 5 through 8. Both trees prefer ample, well-drained dirt and need moderate water, but cannot tolerate a place that stays wet or soggy for intervals of time. For best bloom, flowering cherry trees require full sun and will drastically lessen their flower numbers in a shady place. Dogwoods, however, are native to woodland areas and can tolerate some shade, creating abundant flowers under all light conditions.
Even though both dogwoods and cherry trees are susceptible to some diseases and insects, in general, dogwoods have a tendency to get fewer serious problems. The common dogwood sometimes develops dogwood anthracose, leaf place or root rot, all fungal disorders, however Korean dogwoods are usually immune to these; another attractive variety, the Cornelian dogwood (C. mas), is basically disease-free. Ornamental cherry trees, though, can be damaged by many fungal diseases, including fireblight, root rot and powdery mildew, while insects like scale, tent caterpillars, spider mites and borers may also cause serious problems. For both trees, the ideal way to maintain a specimen healthy contains good cultural practices like frequent debris removal and early detection of problems and usage of fungicidal or insecticidal sprays when required.