Saturday, February 19, 2011

Red Osier-Dogwood, Cornus stolonifera

Several of our native shrubs have subtle beauty, but none have the year-round color of  Red Osier-Dogwood.  It is commonly found coloring Shrub-Carr wetlands, which are essentially natural communities made up of shrubs on wet/saturated soils.  It can form thick stands with few other shrubs or trees present.  Unfortunately this shrub, although native, can invade and replace sedge and wet meadows, because of fire suppression and water table changes caused by drainage.
Although an invasive in disturbed wetlands, you shouldn’t hesitate to plant it in your yard.  They grow well on drier soils, have attractive red bark, provide good hiding and nesting places for birds and the berries are a great food for them as well.  Red dogwood is the first shrub I remember as a kid.  We had some growing along the road by our mailbox.  Each summer the county would cut it down and it rebounded happier than ever.  These new shoots are much redder than the old ones, and so regular trimming of the red dogwoods in your landscape will give a more pleasing look, especially in monotone winter. 

More about Red Dogwood


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