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Extension > Garden > Yard and Garden > Trees and Shrubs > Redosier Dogwood

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Redosier Dogwood (Cornus sericea)

Kathy Zuzek and Beth Berlin

Plant description

Mature height: 2 to 10'
Mature width: 2 to 10'
Growth rate: Fast
Plant form: Broad, rounded, mounded
Deciduous or evergreen: Deciduous
Native range: Newfoundland south to Virginia and west to Alaska and California
Native to Minnesota: Yes
Invasive in Minnesota: No

minnesota mapnorth america map

Native range in Minnesota, Minnesota DNR
Native range in North America, USA, NRCS Plants Database
(Click to enlarge)

Culture

Light: Sun to part shade
Soil texture: Sand, loam clay
Soil moisture: Average to wet soils and very poor to well-drained soils
Soil pH: 6.1-8.5
Hardiness zone: 2 to 7
Pests and stresses: Visit What's wrong with my shrub? – Dogwood for a list of the most common dogwood pests in Minnesota.
Other: Drought and soil compaction tolerant, salt sensitive, suckering plant

Redosier dogwood in the landscape

Redosier dogwood is a native shrub species with colorful red or yellow winter bark. It grows throughout Minnesota and is commonly seen in wetlands such as swamps, marshes, in ditch banks, and along river banks and lakeshores. As a landscape plant, redosier dogwood is used as a border, mass, screen, or specimen plant. This species is also used in wildlife plantings because the fruit is eaten by birds and small and large mammals. Because of its flood tolerance and its ability to grow in wet soils, redosier dogwood is also used in rain gardens. C. sericea is very soil adaptable and can be planted in any site as long as very acidic soils and full shade are avoided. Over time, suckers may need to be removed to maintain plant width. The brightly colored bark occurs on stems that are less than 3 years old so rejuvenation pruning should be a regular practice; remove the oldest third of stems down to the base of the plant every year or two.

Redosier dogwood has multi-season interest but, because of its bright stem color in winter, its main season of interest is winter. In spring, 2-5" leaves emerge followed by clusters of small, 4-petaled, white flowers in mid-May to June. A second bloom period occurs in July and August. Small, round, white to pale blue fruit mature from July through September. Fall color is red-purple. In late summer, younger stems will start to turn from green to red or yellow-green. Color intensifies throughout winter until spring when stem color returns to green.

Kathy Zuzek, UMN Extension

Red winter stems of 'Cardinal'

thin yellow branches outdoors

Bailey Nurseries

Yellow stems of 'Flaviramea'

large bush by bench

Kathy Zuzek, UMN Extension

'Isanti' plant form

close up of small white flowers in group

Julie Weisenhorn, UMN Extension

Flower cluster of 'Flaviramea'

group of small, white, circular fruit

Julie Weisenhorn, UMN Extension

'Flaviramea' fruit

Some cultivars grown in Minnesota:

Cultivar selected for:
Cultivar Red stems Yellow stems Variegated foliage Fall color Compact plant form
'Alleman's Compact' X     X X
'Cardinal' X     X  
'Flaviramea'   X      
First Edition® Firedance™ X     X X
'Isanti' X     X X
'Kelseyi' X       X
'Silver and Gold'   X X    
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