Dogwood Tree
flowering dogwood tree
(Image credit: Maudib)

Dogwood trees are often planted for their lovely spring flowers, so it can be frustrating when your dogwood tree is not blooming, especially when it looks healthy otherwise. It leaves a homeowner wondering, “Why would a dogwood tree not bloom?” There are a few reasons. Let's look at what causes a dogwood to not blossom.

Reasons for a Dogwood Tree Not Blooming

Too Much Nitrogen

Many dogwood trees are planted in the middle of lawns and most lawn fertilizers are very high in nitrogen. Nitrogen is good for growth of leaves, which is why it makes a good lawn fertilizer, but too much nitrogen can stop a plant from flowering.

To correct this, stop using lawn fertilizer near your dogwood tree. Instead, use a balanced fertilizer or a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus.

Too Much or Too Little Sunlight

Dogwoods naturally grow on the edges of forests, which means that they spend part of their day in shade and part of their day in sunlight. If your dogwood tree spends all day in shade or all day in sun, the dogwood tree may not be able to bloom correctly.

When you plant a dogwood tree, consider the type of sun it will be getting. Your dogwood tree should get about a half day of sun to really blossom properly. If you suspect sunlight may be the issue, consider moving the tree or improving the amount of light it gets.

Improper Pruning

A dogwood tree not blooming can be caused by improper pruning. Dogwood trees do not need to be pruned to keep them healthy, but if you are pruning them for shape, be sure that you only prune them after they have finished blooming. Pruning dogwoods at other times can remove the immature buds and cause the dogwood tree not to flower.

Cold Snaps and Temperature

On any ornamental flowering tree, the blossoms will be very tender to cold. It is no different for a dogwood tree's flowers. A cold snap in early spring can kill all of the blossoms but leave the rest of the tree looking healthy. Also, if your dogwood tree variety is not suited to your area, it may not be able to produce flowers due to the cold weather.

Lack of Water

If a dogwood tree does not get enough water, it may not bloom. Make sure that your dogwood tree gets at least 1 inch (2.5 cm.) of water a week. If it does not get this much water a week from rainfall, supplement with a deep watering from the hose that extends to the edges of the canopy of the tree.

The point of having a flowering dogwood tree in your yard is to see the dogwood tree flower in the spring. Making sure that your dogwood tree is getting the type of care it needs is the key to fixing a dogwood tree that will not bloom.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.