How Much Does a Dogwood Tree Cost?

Last Updated on February 23, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

With its captivating flowers and brilliant fall color, the dogwood tree is one of the most beloved and iconic ornamental trees in America. When planning a new landscape or looking to add a focal point to your yard, a dogwood tree will deliver great aesthetic value.

But before visiting your local nursery, it’s crucial to understand the true cost of dogwood trees and what specific factors impact the pricing.

This extensive guide will examine every aspect influencing dogwood tree prices, which usually fluctuate between $$50 and $500 – from the varieties and sizes available to additional care and planting expenses. We’ll also provide tips to compare nursery and online prices intelligently and ultimately select the ideal dogwood for your unique space and budget.

Now let’s explore what impacts the cost of acquiring this exceptional tree for your own yard.

How Much Does a Dogwood Tree Cost?

With over 45 different species in the Cornus genus, dogwood trees offer immense diversity. Prices can vary dramatically based on which variety you select. Here’s an overview of popular options and their typical price ranges:

Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

The classic flowering dogwood renowned for its showy white or pink spring blossoms. This is likely the first image that comes to mind when visualizing a dogwood.

  • Saplings 3-4 feet tall – $50-75
  • Young trees 4-6 feet tall – $150-200
  • Mature trees 6-8 feet tall – $200-250

Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa)

Kousa dogwoods bloom slightly later than C. Florida with more subtle flowers, but their main appeal lies in their vibrant reddish-purple fall foliage. They also exhibit greater disease resistance.

  • Saplings – $60-90
  • Young trees – $175-225
  • Mature trees – $250-350

Japanese Dogwood (Cornus kousa var. chinensis)

A highly desired kousa dogwood cultivar prized for its showy, long-lasting floral bracts in hues of red, pink, and white. It commands premium pricing:

  • 5-gallon potted plants – $150-250
  • Mature trees 6-8 feet tall – $300-500

Giant Dogwood (Cornus controversa)

True to its name, the giant dogwood grows over 50 feet tall at maturity with horizontally layered branching. Its large size equates to a higher price tag:

  • 2-3 feet young trees – $75-100
  • 5-7 feet mature trees – $250-400

Variegated Dogwood Cultivars

Several dogwood species have been bred to exhibit unique white-edged, variegated foliage, including:

  • Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’
  • Cornus alba ‘Silver and Gold’
  • Cornus alba ‘Ivory Halo’
  • Cornus kousa ‘Wolf Eyes’

The aesthetic appeal of variegation commands premium pricing:

  • 1-2 feet saplings – $100-150
  • 5-7 feet young trees – $300-500

This overview shows the immense diversity among dogwood species and associated costs. Setting your budget will help narrow your preferred variety.

Why Invest in a Dogwood Tree?

Beyond just beauty, dogwood trees provide many environmental and financial benefits:

  • As a native North American species, dogwoods support birds, pollinators, and other local wildlife. Their berries and foliage feed over 100 animal species!
  • Their vibrant red fall color and early blooms signal the welcoming change of seasons. Dogwoods provide rich seasonal interest.
  • Dogwoods thrive across a wide range of climates and soils when properly planted. They adapt well to many landscapes.
  • Their smaller mature size (15-30 feet) makes dogwoods ideal for smaller residential yards.
  • Dogwoods require relatively low maintenance compared to other ornamental trees. Basic care ensures their health and longevity.
  • Mature dogwood trees can increase a property’s value by 10-20%, providing an excellent return on your investment.

When thoughtfully incorporated into landscape design, a dogwood tree will provide joy for decades to come.

What Impacts Dogwood Tree Pricing?

Beyond the basic species and cultivar, several other factors influence the cost of dogwood trees:

Tree Size and Maturity

You might also like our articles about the cost of Japanese maple trees, Bonsai trees, or Palm trees.

As expected, larger, more mature trees carry higher price tags, while younger saplings and small potted specimens are more budget-friendly. Opting for a smaller tree means you must wait longer for it to reach its full size and make an impact in your landscape.

Availability and Seasonal Demand

Dogwood availability and prices fluctuate significantly based on seasonal demand:

  • Spring – Peak demand drives higher prices as people plant new trees. Limited inventories.
  • Summer – Wholesale nurseries focus on propagation, not retail sales. Less availability.
  • Fall – Good availability as retailers stock up for autumn planting. Prices decrease.
  • Winter – Lowest demand equals best pricing. Inventory still limited.

Shopping in the off-season when prices drop allows budget-focused buyers to save money. Just ensure your selected nursery will hold stock until your target planting timeframe.

Rare and Unusual Varieties

The rarer or more unusual a dogwood variety, the higher the typical purchase price. For example, variegated foliage cultivars or weeping dogwoods command top dollar due to novelty and exclusivity. Buying a rare specimen tree signals prestige, so prices rise accordingly.

Nursery Reputation and Perceived Value

Higher prices don’t necessarily equate to higher plant quality. Respected local nurseries with extensive knowledge often offer better “bang for your buck” than flashy national chains charging premium markups. Don’t assume paying more means a superior product. Research and reputation matter.

Where to Buy Dogwood Trees

You’ll encounter two main options of where to buy your dogwood tree:

Online Ordering From a Garden Center

  • Pro: Convenience of buying from home and a wider selection of sizes, varieties, and bundle deals
  • Pro: Ability to buy larger, mature trees not always locally available
  • Con: Added shipping costs and risks of damage or delay
  • Con: Unable to inspect the tree before purchasing

Purchasing From a Local Retail Nursery

  • Pro: Able to see the tree in person to assess health and form
  • Pro: Avoid risks and expenses of shipping
  • Con: Limited on-hand selection influenced by seasonal inventory
  • Con: Higher retail markups than online discounts and bundle pricing

If buying online, ensure the seller guarantees live delivery and policies for returns/replacements. For local purchases, choose nurseries with robust tree health and knowledgeable staff.

Additional Costs to Factor In

The true total cost of adding a new dogwood goes well beyond just the tree purchase price. Here are other expenses to account for:

Shipping and Handling

For an online order, the shipping costs for a live tree can range from $10 for a small bundle to over $150 for a large 8 foot tree requiring professional transport. Look for free shipping promotions to save.

Sales Tax

Depending on your state, tack on an extra 5-10% sales tax for any purchase. Online sellers might not charge tax, however.

Planting and Installation

Options range from DIY planting for the cost of tools, soil amendments, and your labor, or hiring a landscaping company to install your new dogwood for $150 or much more depending on site conditions and access. Proper planting is critical for the tree’s survival.

Soil Preparation

Optimizing the soil where your dogwood will grow is key. Plan on $100-$200 for high-quality compost, topsoil, mycorrhizal inoculant, and other amendments to improve drainage, nutrients, and microbial activity in the soil.


Spreading 2-4 inches of shredded bark around your dogwood keeps roots moist and insulated. Mulch materials like pine straw or wood chips cost around $100-150 per cubic yard.


Your dogwood needs supplemental nutrition to supplement your soil. Expect to spend $25-$50 on balanced organic fertilizers annually. More for mature trees.

Staking and Training Aids

Newly planted trees need support and training while their root systems establish. Plan on $30-$60 for staking kits, ties, pruning gear, and other supplies.

Ongoing Care and Maintenance

An established dogwood needs yearly pruning, disease management, pest control, and other care that can cost $200+ annually for a mature specimen. Proper care is key for longevity.

As you can see, costs quickly compound beyond just buying the tree itself. Ensure your budget accommodates the full range of planting and maintenance expenses.

Smart Tips for Picking Your Dogwood

Spring Dogwood TreeFollow this advice to choose the ideal dogwood for your landscape and get it off to a thriving start:

  • Select varieties suited for your specific USDA Hardiness Zone and precipitation levels.
  • When buying in person, inspect the root ball, branching, and buds for disease, insects, and damage. Reject unhealthy specimens.
  • Online, vet seller reviews, guarantees, and tree arrival policies before purchasing.
  • Prepare your planting site in advance by loosening soil, improving drainage, and removing weeds/debris. Mark utilities!
  • Mix amendments like compost into your native soil to optimize nutrients and texture for healthy root growth.
  • Plant in early spring or fall when the weather is mild to reduce transplant shock. Avoid summer.
  • Water thoroughly at planting, then give 1″ of water per week for 1-2 months until established.
  • Apply 2-4″ of mulch around the tree but avoid contact with the trunk to prevent rot and pest issues.
  • Stake and train your young dogwood for 1-2 years until its root system can support itself.

Tips to Save Money on Your Dogwood Purchase

Stretch your tree budget further with these smart shopping tips:

Buy When Prices Are Lowest – Shop for your dogwood in late summer, fall, or winter when overall demand is lower and nurseries offer sales or discounts on stock. Autumn is an excellent time for planting.

Take Advantage of Bundle Deals and Package Pricing – Many nurseries offer bundled tree packages that give you two or more for a discounted bulk rate. You get multiple trees for the price of one!

Consider Smaller Saplings for Big Savings – For cost-conscious buyers, opting for a young 1-3 foot sapling can save over 50% versus buying a mature tree. You’ll wait longer for a landscape impact but spend much less upfront.

Join Gardening Clubs for Exclusive Discounts – Many local clubs partner with nurseries and retailers to offer members special pricing on plants. An inexpensive membership can lead to serious tree savings!

Use Coupons and Shop Sales – Check nursery websites for online coupons and in-store sales events. Sign up for newsletters and loyalty programs for inside access to promotions. Timing is everything!

Buy Bareroot Trees During Winter – Many deciduous trees are sold bareroot without soil during winter and early spring. The limited root mass equates to major savings off buying potted. Just be sure to plant ASAP before buds emerge.

With the wide variability in dogwood tree prices, a bit of patience and smart shopping can yield huge dividends and savings. Do your research and let the budget dictate your ideal dogwood choice.

Final Words

To recap, keep these tips in mind when planning for your new dogwood tree investment:

  • Set your budget up front, then let it guide variety, size, and nursery decisions.
  • Account for all additional planting and care costs beyond just purchasing the tree.
  • Understand how pricing fluctuates by season, variety, and size. Shop strategically.
  • Compare nursery vs online options; Each has pros and cons.
  • Assume larger, more mature trees cost exponentially more. Weigh tradeoffs.
  • Treat the tree properly at planting for best results. Don’t cut corners.

The joy and curb appeal a dogwood brings over decades makes planning and budgeting carefully up front well worth the effort. Follow this guide to make your ideal dogwood a reality!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the lifespan of a dogwood tree?

The average lifespan of a dogwood tree is 20-30 years. With excellent care and ideal growing conditions, some dogwood trees can live upwards of 50 years. Ensuring proper planting, watering, pruning, and disease management will maximize a dogwood tree’s lifespan in your landscape.

How tall is a 5-gallon dogwood tree?

A 5-gallon dogwood tree is usually 2-4 feet tall when you purchase it. The exact height depends on the specific variety, growth rate, and age. Faster-growing kousa dogwoods tend to be taller as 5-gallon trees compared to slower-growing flowering dogwoods. Give your 5-gallon dogwood ideal conditions and it can grow over 1-2 feet per year to maturity.

How long do dogwood blooms last?

Dogwood blooms typically last 1-2 weeks in the spring, but the duration depends on the weather and variety. Cool, wet weather prolongs the bloom time while hot, windy conditions can shorten it.

Cornus florida and Cornus kousa flowers tend to last 7-14 days. The showy bracts on Cornus kousa var. chinensis may persist for 2-3 weeks. Planting different dogwood species together extends the flowering display in your landscape.

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