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Dogwood Trees


SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION
C. alba
(Tatarian dogwood)

C. alba 'Argenteo-marginata'
(Silver-edged dogwood)

C. alba
'Sibirica'
(Siberian dogwood)

C. canadensis

(Bunchberry)

C. florida
(Flowering dogwood)

C. kousa
(Kousa or Japanese dogwood)

C. mas
(Cornelian cherry)

C. nuttallii
(Pacific, Western or Mountain dogwood)

C. sericea, also called C. stolonifera
(Red osier dogwood)

C. sericea 'Flaviramea'
(Yellow-twigged dogwood)






Tatarian dogwood, with its bright red twigs, may reach 9 feet in height if it is left unpruned. The plant is hardy and grows rapidly in Zones 3-8. It stands out dramatically against snow.

The Tatarian dogwood, from Asia, and the native red osier dogwood are similar in all respects except that the red osier dogwood spreads by sending out underground stems, or stolons, to form large clumps. Both species have bright red branches that bear 2-inch clusters of tiny white flowers in late spring. In late summer tiny white or bluish white berries appear and the 2- to 5-inch-long leaves later turn red. One of the best varieties of the Tatarian dogwood is C. alba 'Sibirica', the Siberian dogwood. Two other excellent Tatarian dogwood varieties are C. alba 'Argenteo-marginata', the silver-edged dogwood, whose white-edged leaves make it an interesting accent plant in shrub borders, and C. alba 'Spaethii', the yellow-edged dogwood, with leaves edged in yellow.

HOW TO GROW. Tatarian dogwood grows in Zones 5-10. It tolerates light shade but is best planted in sun, which brings out the full color of its stems. Will grow in almost any soil, and especially Tatarian and red osier dogwoods do well in wet places, such as near a pond. Prune Tatarian and red osier dogwoods in early spring before new growth starts, cutting old stems to the ground to force an abundance of brightly colored new growth. Cornelian cherry rarely needs pruning unless it is being trained into tree form; whatever pruning is required should not be done until after the flowers have faded, since the flowers form on the previous season's growth, not on new growth. New plants of all three types of dogwoods can be started from softwood cuttings of young growth in late spring or early summer, from semi hardwood cuttings of more mature growth in mid- or late summer, or from hardwood cuttings of dormant leafless growth in late fall or winter. Tatarian and red osier dogwoods can also be propagated from underground branches, or suckers, or by forcing a branch to grow roots by the method known as ground layering.