Small Trees, Shrubs & Vines arrow Red Osier Dogwood

Red Osier Dogwood
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Red Osier Dogwood

Latin Name: Cornus stolonifera
Common Name: Red Osier Dogwood

Red osier dogwood shrubs provide year-round interest: creamy white blossoms in spring, variegated leaves in summer, and berries from summer to fall, and bright red twigs in winter.    A native shrub found throughout North America, Red osier dogwood is an excellent plant for preventing soil erosion and is well suited for planting near water as it is flood tolerant.  Thick foliage provides summer shade to maintain cool water temperatures for fish, while the cover and berries offer additional benefits for birds.

  • Small to medium sized shrub with numerous stems forming thickets up to 15 feet tall but generally shorter.
  • Height to 66' with diameter of 1.5'-2'
  • Leaves Opposite, simple, accurately veined, 2 to 4 inches long, somewhat narrow, entire margin, green above, pale below.
  • Flowers Small, dull white in flat top clusters about 2 inches across appearing in late May to early July.
  • Fruit Dull white, 1/4 to 1/3 inch in diameter in rounded clusters. Maturing in August to September.
  • Twig Bright red, sometimes green splotched with red, white pith, buds narrow and tapering, flower buds more swollen.
  • Root system extensive, moderately shallow, highly wind firm.
  • Bark Red to green with numerous lenticels. Later developing larger cracks and splits and turning light brown.
  • Wood heavy, hard, strong and yellowish with wide, white sapwood.
  • A characteristic species of swamps, low meadows, and riparian zones; also found in forest openings, open forest under stories, and along forest margins.
  • Southern limits appear to be determined by high temperatures.
  • Prefers rich, moist soils with pH range of 5.5 to 7.0. High levels of mineral nutrients needed for vigorous growth.
  • Tolerates flooding and, consequently, is found on floodplains and wetlands and is often one of the first shrubs to invade wet meadows.
  • Seeds germinate above water level, but after several years growth, the plants can live with the roots submerged in water for most of the growing season. Plants on such wet sites are found in mineral rich swamps or fens and not in nutrient poor sphagnum bogs.
  • An early to mid successional species that is suppressed in shade and is not normally found in the under story of closed canopy forests.It is found in the under story of mixed open forests.
  • Needs moderate to full sunlight. Its natural occurrence in full sunlight may be facilitated by its growth in wet situations where it encounters no water stress.
Uses/ Cultivation
  • This shrub is well-suited for streamside plantings, especially since it is tolerant of flooding. It makes fairly rapid growth on sunny, moist sites and the spreading roots bind soil to control erosion.
  • An attractive landscaping plant, with deep red stems and twigs for winter color, many creamy white flowers in the spring followed by attractive white fruits, and spectacular maroon fall leaves.
  • Once established, is drought tolerant and, for gardeners in rural areas, less palatable to white-tailed deer than many other ornamental shrubs.
  • Recommended for rehabilitating moist sites within its range, it is well adapted to disturbed sites, excellent at stabilizing soil, easy to establish, and grows rapidly. It needs fresh, aerated water to establish and may be particularly useful in stabilizing eroding stream banks.
  • Rooted cuttings or nursery-grown seedlings are easily established on moist, well-drained soils and grow rapidly.
Insects / Pests
  • None serious
Sesonal Photos

Type Price Desired Quantity
seed: Seed Packet TBD
plug: 1P TBD