Q. My red twig dogwood is not showing its usual intense red stem color. What should I do?
Red twig dogwood is the common name for two very similar species, Cornus sericea (red osier dogwood) and Cornus alba (Tatarian dogwood). The bright red stems of these shrubs bring vivid color to the garden in winter.
The youngest stems of these plants have the brightest color. So to maintain the bright redness, pruning is required. Prune in early spring, using one of two methods: Either remove about 1/3 of the largest (oldest) stems annually in early spring, or cut all stems down to 9 inches above ground every three years. Either of these techniques should maintain the bright red color.
Red twig dogwoods are brightest in winter. The stems fade in warm weather and become redder again when cold temperatures return.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service