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Dogwood Roots: How Deep Do They Grow? Are They Invasive?

Dogwood trees are majestic and ornamental. With plenty of water and sunshine, they thrive. There are over 50 species that vary wildly from shrubs to temperate trees and evergreens. One of the main features is the root system. 

It allows us to know how and where to plant and ways to take care of them.  

We are focusing on the Dogwood plant today. More specifically, the root system. If you are interested in learning, the insights on dogwood roots could help you understand how to care for this plant accurately. 

What kind of root system does a dogwood have?

Dogwood plant has shallow roots. They tend to dry rapidly, even with shade. When watering, one needs to water it to a depth of three feet. One can tell whether it is under-watered or over-watered by observing the leaves. 

When the leaves are light green the tree will need more water. Even if the leaves are crispy or prickly it will need more water than you are providing.

One major issue of shallow roots is they could damage sidewalks or driveways over a decade. 

Dogwoods roots grow up to 10 to 11 inches deep in light potting mix. One needs to tear the deepest roots apart to avoid rotting roots. 

Again, one should plant medium-sized dogwoods 15 feet away from a house. And they should keep a distance of 35 feet or more from each other. This is to ensure that that trees roots doesn’t invade each other.

However, you can plant small dogwood such as the flowering dogwood a bit closer to the house.  6 feet from the house and 20 feet apart from each other will be enough for this case. 

Does a dogwood tree have deep roots?

Dogwood trees do not have deep roots. Their roots are shallow and spread horizontally. The root requires a lot of water since they dry very quickly, even when there is shade. 

The deepest roots of dogwood are often less than 3 and 1/2 inches deep into the soil. Roots deeper than that may rot off easily. In fact in heavy soils, the possibility is much higher. 

Dogwoods are once again understory trees. They grow under large trees. Also, the roots grow over the top of the roots of big trees. 

According to standards, the root system of a tree should be four to seven times the area of the crown. One should plant the young dogwood trees 18 feet apart. Again, keep the dwarf-sized dogwoods more closely.

How deep do dogwood tree roots grow?

Dogwood trees have shallow roots. The deepest roots observed are less than 3 and 1/2 inches deep in the soil. If they are deeper they may rot off, mostly in heavy soil settings. The roots also need a lot of water as they dry faster. The plantation differs according to the size of the Dogwoods.  

Shallow roots are fibrous and do not penetrate as deeply as taproots. The dogwoods have shallow roots.  

There are numerous dogwood species. They differ in length and canopy size. 

The roots of the dogwood plant go deep into the soil three and ½ inches at most. In standard, the root of a plant extends four to seven times of a canopy. Hence, whatever the crown we see of a dogwood tree, the roots should be four to seven times. 

Dogwood tree roots also need more water as their roots get drier faster. They only flourish with enough water and sunlight. Since the plants need sun rays to grow, the watering should be pretty frequent or daily. 

Dogwood trees are dependent on surface moisture. The root system does not penetrate very deep in the ground to water reserves beneath the soil for their shallow root system. The trees also prefer slightly acidic and well-drained soil. 

Plant a medium to matured plant 15 feet away from the house or infrastructure. However, one can grow the dwarfed ones without worrying about keeping too much distance between them. You can plant them 3 feet away from a house.

How far away from the house should you plant a dogwood tree? How big is a dogwood root system?

A big-sized dogwood plant whether a common or a Kousa, plant it at least 15 feet away from a house or other infrastructure. It will allow the tree to grow at full width. Also, it won’t affect the pavement or pipelines beneath. 

For smaller plants, you need to grow them, keeping a space of 6 feet away from a house. And plant each dogwood 20 feet apart.  

Again grow the full or medium trees at least 15 feet from a house and 35 feet or more feet from each other. 

The root system of the dogwood is shallow. It doesn’t go deep down but spreads horizontally. We already know tree roots grow four to seven times more compared to the crown of the tree. 

So with that, we can infer the roots of the dogwood tree will also be four to seven times of its canopy

Do dogwood trees have a tap root?

Dogwood trees do not have taproots. Taproots are linear and go deep down into the soil to get food, nutrients, and water. In contrast, the roots of a dogwood tree are shallow and shaped like a vase. They are fibrous and spread horizontally more compared to a taproot.

If the root of a dogwood plant is too long, the chances of root rotting increase. Mostly in dense clay settings. Two to three inches of dogwood root may get vulnerable to decay.

Though dogwood has shallow roots that don’t make them invasive. It is because the plants are not huge. You can grow the largest dogwood tree 15 feet away from human-made structures.

An invasive rooted plant needed to plant 20 to 30 feet away from home. Again, the roots of dogwood resemble a vase structure which also means the roots do not extend widely.

Do dogwood trees have invasive roots?

Dogwood trees do not have invasive roots. However, we may infer it for the shallow roots and the spreading crown.  One grows an invasive rooted plant 20 to 30 feet away from infrastructure. Nevertheless, medium and matured dogwood trees need to be 15 feet away. The root is again vase-like. 

Here we have listed some common dogwood trees. Along with their characteristics, we gave insights into if their roots are invasive or not.  

White dogwood: 

It is one of the excellent landscape breeds which can be grown in all four seasons. People adore them for the beautiful white bloom. 

Again since it is small in size with 25’ in length and 25’ spread, it does not contain a root that could be invasive. A full-grown white dogwood needs to be 15 feet away from a house or other infrastructure. It is suitable to plant near utility lines, buildings, and patios. 

Flowering dogwood:

Flowering dogwood is the most common. Unlike others, it can grow even in partial sun exposure. Again, the soil should be well-drained and acidic. 

The plant grows 20 to 40 feet tall with a 15 to 30 feet spread. You are allowed to plant a medium-sized plant 15 feet away from your house. It means their roots are not invasive. 

Kousa dogwood: 

Kousa dogwood is another breed that is mainly native to Japan. The blooming time is also different.

This species also has a shallow root system. It grows well in clay, loamy, acidic, moist, and well-drained soils. However, the root system may be vulnerable to planted clay soil. 

You can plant a full-grown Kosua 15 feet away from your house. It also implies the root system of the plant is not invasive. We can plant them in a cluster as well. 

How far do dogwood roots spread?

The root structure of a regular tree is four to seven times the area covered by the crown. Dogwood trees also follow the same rules. For instance, a Chinese dogwood tree has a 15 to 30-foot crown. 

It implies that the root underneath will cover an area of approximately 185 to 660 square feet.  

Expect to observe a vase-like structure of the roots of a well-developed, mature dogwood tree. In addition, the dogwood tree has a shallow root. It means the roots do not penetrate deeply into the soil but spread horizontally. 

How far dogwood roots extend depends on the size of the plants. You should plant the medium-sized plant 15 feet away from the infrastructure. Also, keep a distance of 35 feet or more between each plant. 

Again, for small dogwood trees, such as the flowering dogwood, you should plant them 6 feet far from a house and 20 feet apart from each other. 

Final Thoughts:

Dogwood plants have shallow roots. It may make us think that they are invasive. The roots again shape like a vase. You do not need to plant them more than 15 feet away from any man-build infrastructure. They can be grown maintaining the standard distance and will not create any hassle.