3 Reason Why Do Dogwood Trees Smell Bad

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Why Do Dogwood Trees Smell Bad? If you ever take a walk in a landscape during early spring and catch a sweet, slightly fruity aroma in the air, chances are lots of dogwood trees surround you. Since dogwoods are one of the earliest bloomers in the spring, famous for their beautiful blooms and pleasant scent, today, we will learn what makes dogwood smell so lovely.

If you are wondering why dogwood smells the way they do, read this article thoroughly because we will discuss the science behind the pleasant smell of dogwood as well. But before that, we must learn: do dogwood trees smell bad? If yes, why do dogwood trees smell bad? 

To many people, the scent of dogwood is unpleasant. Therefore, we will dive into why some individuals find it less of a feeling than others. Maybe the dogwood tree is suffering from diseases, or there is something around it causing an unpleasant odor. Let’s first get the answer to the question: do dogwood trees smell bad?

Do Dogwood Trees Smell Bad? 

No, dogwood trees don’t smell bad. They are known for their pleasant sweet fruit aroma from their blooming in the early spring. To some people, the scent might smell/seem unpleasant. Overall, the scent of a dogwood tree is considered a positive aspect and has many benefits. 

But if you are getting an unpleasant odor directly from a dogwood tree, there can be a few issues. So let’s find out reasons why dogwood trees smell bad.

Why Do Dogwood Trees Smell Bad?

Since dogwood trees are known to have a pleasant aroma, they are unlikely to have any foul odor or smell. You are likely to smell a sweet, pleasant scent. If you smell the terrible odor from the dogwood tree, it can be due to mold or fungus. Sometimes Pest infestation also causes the dogwood tree leaves to rot and emit a foul odor. 

Additionally, the specific variety of dogwood may have an unpleasant scent, but I have yet to find any throughout my research. Look for any suitable signs of diseases like root rot that might be causing a horrible smell emitting from dogwood trees. Below are a few reasons or causes of the foul odor from dogwood trees.

  • You may have got another species of the tree instead of dogwood mistakenly. Some dogwood trees smell bad, like Bradford pear & Callery pear. This species is known to emit the odor of rotten fish.
  • A dogwood species may also emit odor if it regularly receives the right amount of water, nutrition, light, and soil. A tree in improper care may show discontent by giving off a bad smell.
  • Diseases like root rot, mold, and fungus may emit an unusual smell. Therefore, look for the science of pest diseases and fungi On dogwood trees. 

If you still need clarification about the unpleasant smell, I highly recommend consulting with an abolished or local horticulture expert. They will be the best person to clear all your concern about the smell of your tree in your particular area or region. To some people, not all trees’ smell is also bearable.

Why Do Dogwood Trees Smell So Good?

To understand why dogwood releases such a pleasant fruity aroma, you need to learn the science behind it. Just like any other tree, dogwood also produces varieties of compounds. Dogwood blooming releases distinct compounds in the air, including alcohol, esters, and phenylpropanoids. 

  • Phenylpropanoids, like eugenol and isoeugenol, are known for their sweet and spicy aromas.
  • Benzenoids, like benzyl alcohol and benzaldehyde, has a sweet and floral scent. 
  • Terpenoids like linalool and limonene are volatile compounds also known for their citrus and floral aromas. 

These compounds are mainly responsible for the floral and sweet Aroma that we usually associate with dogwood. Dogwood produces this type of fragrance to attract pollinators. A dogwood tree also starts producing this fragrant compound when early spring starts or the tree begins to grow.

As soon as the flower opens, it releases volatile organic compounds into the air, which create a recognized dogwood scent in its surrounding environment. Surprisingly, the smell is pleasing to our noses and has its own purpose. To help fertilize, dogwood emits a sweet aroma to attract pollinators like butterflies and bees.

With such a pleasant scent, the dogwood tree can attract the best pollinators to ensure its species’ continuation. In a word, the dogwood scent results from the complex interplay of biology and chemicals. However, it always comes down to the tree’s survival and reproduction efforts. After knowing this, I hope you will appreciate the unique natural process and how much a dogwood tree works, especially if you catch a whiff of the sweet Aroma next time.

7 Benefits Of Dogwood Smell.

  1. Believe it or not, this sweet floral scent of dogwood will lift your mood anytime while reducing stress levels. Being surrounded by dogwood trees will positively affect your mental and emotional health.
  2. Dogwooda aroma also purifies the air, making breathing safer and more refreshing. You will have improved air quality if dogwood is planted in your garden.
  3. Since dogwood scent attracts pollinators like bees, butterflies, and more, it boosts the local ecosystem, supporting the overall health of the surrounding environment.
  4. Believe it or not, I feel connected to nature when I smell the scents of dogwood. Trying it will help you appreciate the natural world’s beauty and experience a sense of character.
  5. To many people, the dogwood aroma evokes memories of special moments and even childhood. It might give you a sense of memories and nostalgia.

3 Dogwoods With A Pleasant Scent

  • Cornelian Cherry Dogwood (Cornus mas)
  • Eastern Dogwood (Cornus florida)
  • Hybrid Dogwoods (Cornus x)


Can The Scent Of Dogwoods Change Throughout The Year?

Yes, dogwood scent/aroma will change throughout the year. You will find it smelling intensely in the spring and less in the summer before disappearing entirely in the fall. This is the time when dogwood will go dormant.

Where Is The Best Place To Experience The Scent Of Dogwoods?

As per my experience, the best place to enjoy the Aroma of dogwood is an area with a dense population of this species which can be parks, landscapes, and gardens. You should always visit dogwood gardens during the peak of the blooming season, which is in late March or early April.

How Can I Enhance My Experience With Dogwoods?

To enhance your experience with dogwood trees, consider placing a seating area or a bench near it. It will allow you to take in the fragrance in a relaxed setting during the peak of the blooming season. It would help if you considered pruning your dogwood tree regularly to encourage more bloom and scent.

Are All Dogwoods Fragrant, Or Just Some Species?

There are a few species of dogwood trees that are odorless. But many species, including flowering dogwood and kousa dogwood, are fragrant.

Are There Any Other Trees That Have A Similar Scent To Dogwood?

Yes, many trees emit a similar type of scent to dogwood. A few of those trees include cherry blossom and mongoose magnolias. However, the fragrance of the dogwood is quite distinctive and unique compared to the lilac, cherry blossom, and magnolias.

How Long Does The Dogwood Scent Last?

The dogwood scent will last until the end of summer before disappearing entirely in the fall. You will experience the most intense Aroma during the dogwood blooming season’s peak, typically in early April or late March.

Can The Scent Of Dogwoods Be Preserved For Future Enjoyment?

Unfortunately, there is no way to preserve the scent of dogwood for future enjoyment. However, many commercial fragrances are available that give you a similar type of experience, but most contain chemicals. I take me some time to appreciate the scent when it is blooming and enjoy this natural wonder once in a while.


Today, we learned why dogwoods are known for their sweet Florence scent. In the fall, the dogwood tree will go down without any smell.

Since there is no easy way to preserve the Aroma of dogwood for future enjoyment, I recommend you visit parks or gardens with many of these species while taking time to appreciate its scent and enjoy this natural wonder.

You should visit locations with a dense population of dogwood trees during the peak of the blooming season. If you have a few in your landscape, consider placing a bench near it to enhance your experience more.