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Cherokee Chief Dogwood for Sale - Buying & Growing Guide

  • Cherokee Chief Dogwood
  • Cherokee Chief Dogwood
  • Cherokee Chief Dogwood
1 of 3
Cornus florida 'Cherokee Chief'
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The Cherokee chief dogwood, or Cornus florida 'Cherokee Chief,' is one of the most fantastic red-blooming dogwoods in existence. Each spring season, this cultivar will bloom with dark red flowers that will add a pop of color to your landscape while attracting native pollinators. After the bloom time, the Cherokee chief dogwood continues to impress with its graceful growth habit, its red fall color and its bright red fruits, which can persist long into winter. 

  • The Cherokee chief dogwood tree blooms with ruby-red flowers in spring. 
  • This tree offers interest during the entire growing season. 
  • Cherokee chief dogwoods attract beautiful wildlife all year. 

Plant Care

Sunlight

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Grow your Cherokee chief dogwood in either full sunlight or partial shade.

Watering

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Water this tree about once per week during the hotter parts of spring and summer.

Fertilizing

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Feed this tree once in early spring and once in late spring using a balanced or nitrogen-rich fertilizer.

Planting and Care

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by John Haryasz | Horticulture Writer and Landscape Designer – last update on October 7, 2022

Planting instructions

This tree survives in USDA hardiness zones 5-9. Those living in the cooler parts of that range can plant this tree in either full sunlight or partial shade. Those living farther south may need to avoid full sun. The best soil for this plant is well-draining and somewhat acidic. To plant a Cherokee chief dogwood, choose an area that has about 15-20 feet of space in all directions into which this plant can spread its canopy. Then, dig a hole that is as deep as the root ball is tall and about twice as wide.

Watering and nutrients

A newly planted Cherokee chief dogwood should receive water about twice per week during the first growing season to aid establishment. After the first growing season, this tree will need water about once per week during the hottest parts of spring and summer. During other times of the year, the water needs for this plant will remain low. Feed this plant twice per year — once in early spring and once in late spring — using a fertilizer that is balanced or has a higher ratio of nitrogen.

Pollination

One odd aspect about dogwoods is that although they have bisexual flowers, which typically means self-pollination is possible, these plants are typically self-incompatible, meaning that they need a companion plant in order to produce fruits. As such, if you want to enjoy the fruits of your Cherokee chief dogwood, you’ll need to plant an additional dogwood tree nearby. Typically, dogwoods rely on larger insects, including bumblebees, to carry their pollen. However, it can be possible for these trees to spread their pollen via the wind as well.

Pruning

It can be somewhat difficult to find a suitable time to prune a dogwood. On the one hand, these plants produce sap during the active growing period, and pruning during that time can cause the sap to bleed. On the other hand, dogwoods set their flower buds on old wood, which means pruning during winter and early spring risks removing some of the blooms. With that said, the dormant period is the better time to perform pruning. Fortunately, pruning doesn’t need to be extensive as these plants tend to take on a pleasing form on their own.

Pests, diseases and animals

Unfortunately, there are several diseases that can threaten your Cherokee chief dogwood. Many of those diseases are fungal and can be quite damaging to your tree’s health. Some of the most common diseases for this plant and its relatives are powdery mildew and leaf anthracnose, which results in significant leaf discoloration. Sadly, pests can also be an issue for dogwoods. Along with other common garden pests, borers are particularly likely to infest a Cherokee chief dogwood.

Achieving maximum results

Pruning your Cherokee chief dogwood at the wrong time of year is one of the easiest ways to harm it. For instance, if you prune in early spring, not only will this tree begin to bleed sap, but it may also become more vulnerable to pests and diseases. Aim to time your pruning for late fall and early winter to avoid these issues. When pruning, be incredibly mindful of the flower buds. Removing too many of these buds will leave your plant looking relatively bare when the bloom time arrives.

FAQs

What makes the Cherokee chief dogwood different from other dogwoods?

There are a few significant ways in which the Cherokee chief dogwood is different from other popular dogwood varieties. The most noticeable difference relates to this plant's flowers, which are red and darker than the flowers of most other dogwood varieties. Additionally, the Cherokee chief dogwood often proves to have a stronger ability to withstand the cold. While other dogwoods may begin to struggle while growing in USDA hardiness zone 5, the Cherokee chief dogwood does not.

How large does a Cherokee chief dogwood grow?

Like many dogwoods, the Cherokee chief dogwood is a medium-sized ornamental tree. At maturity, this plant will reach about 15-25 feet tall with a spread that has a similar dimension. That height and spread make for a manageable tree with a spreading habit. At times, the spreading canopy of a Cherokee chief dogwood can become large enough to provide some much-needed shade in summer.

What color are the leaves of a Cherokee chief dogwood?

The color of a Cherokee chief dogwood's leaves will change depending on the season. During spring, when the leaves first emerge for the year, they will have a darker green color with a slight bronze tint. During summer, the leaves are a more typical green. Then, in fall, the leaves of this plant enter their most impressive phase as they turn reddish-orange before falling to the ground.

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Mature height
15-20 ft.
Mature width
15-30 ft.
Sunlight requirement
Part Shade Preferred-- Tolerates Full Sun in Cooler Zones
Growth rate
Moderate
Botanical name
Cornus florida 'Cherokee Chief'
Shipping exclusions
AZ,FL
Grows Well In Zones
5-9
map
Growing Zones: 5-9 i Growing zones help determine if a particular plant is likely to grow well in a location. It identifies the average annual minimum winter temperatures across the U.S. provided as a map by the USDA.
(hardy down to -10°F)

Cherokee Chief Dogwood

Cornus florida 'Cherokee Chief'
  • Ships in 1-2 days
  • 1-Year Warranty Eligible
  • Pots or accessories are not included unless specified in the product options.
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Quantity
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