Tends to develop problems in heavy clay soil. Prefers acid soil and gets chlorotic symptoms (pale green leaves) in high pH soils. Shallow root system benefits with a few inches of mulch to moderate soil temperature. It is also beneficial to shelter the plant from wind.
Flowering dogwood does best horticulturally in moist, acidic soil in a site with some afternoon shade, but good morning sun. It does not do well when exposed to intense heat sources such as adjacent parking lots or air conditioning compressors. It also has a low salinity tolerance. The hardiness zone is 5–9 and the preferred pH is between 6.0–7.0. In urban and suburban settings, care should be taken not to inflict mower damage on the trunk or roots, as this increases the tree's susceptibility to disease and pest pressure. The common flowering dogwood has been placed on the endangered species list in Ontario. In regions where dogwood anthracnose is a problem, homeowners and public land managers are encouraged to know the symptoms and inspect trees frequently. The selection of healthy, disease-free planting stock is essential and transplanting trees from the forest should be avoided. Sites should be selected for reasonably well-drained, fertile soils; full sun is recommended in high-hazard areas (such as stream or pond banks). New plantings should be mulched to a depth of 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 in), avoiding the stem. Dead wood and leaves should be pruned and completely removed and destroyed yearly. Plants should be watered weekly during droughts, with watering done in the morning, avoiding wetting the foliage.