- Genus: Cornus
- Most common variety: Common Dogwood (go figure!) (cornus sanguinea)
- Other popular varieties: Winter Flame, Sibirica, Bud’s Yellow, Creeping Dogwood
A genus of sixty species, a Dogwood hedge can be distinguished generally by its distinctive bark, berries, and blossoms. Most are shrubs and deciduous trees, with leaves of varying colours that grow in opposite pairs along stems.
Many species have small inconspicuous flower heads surrounded by typically white, large bracts that look like petals. Others have petal-bearing open clusters of flowers. Throughout much of temperate Japan, North America, Europe and Asia, the various dogwood species are native. In particular, the United States’ southeastern region has a particularly rich native species.
Dogwood is well-known for its autumn colours, which are stunning. Several species produce attractive and unusual foliage before any changes in the leaves happen. The dogwood “Summer Gold” (cornus kousa ‘Summer Gold’) features yellow edges on a bright green leaf that begins to turn to flaming red in the fall from its original pink hue.
A dogwood hedge features a floral display in the spring of pink or white flowers. The part that shows is a bract that looks like leaves beneath small flowers.
In the Kousa Dogwood, the primary edible part is the red berries abundantly produced in the late summer. The round fruits are about the size of a strawberry and taste like a cross between a pumpkin and a mango.
The best time to prune a dogwood tree is in the Winter or late Autumn when the tree lies dormant. A good hard pruning will often prompt strong growth with good colour in the following year.
Propogate your Dogwood hedge by taking semi-hardwood cuttings from mid-Autumn to late Winter.
- Take a six inch cutting, just below a leaf node, from a branch with lots of growth and strip the shoots on the lower half.
- Dip the base in rooting hormone.
- Make a hole in a rooting pot filled with wet sand and place the cutting into it, keeping all the remaining leaves above the surface.
- Cover the pot with a plastic bag to retain a moist environment.
- After two to three weeks, you can expect roots to have formed and by lightly tugging the plant, you will feel the roots giving a little resistance.
- At that point you can transplant your new friends into the ground and support their new life!
How to Plant a Dogwood Hedge
Dogwood trees with bare roots should be transplanted in the early spring or late Autumn. Trees grown in containers can be replanted any time of the year as long as there is regular water after re-planting. Dogwoods need to be planted about two thirds of the depth of its ball of roots.
The primary threat is the Dogwood anthracnose fungus which is commonplace in the USA. It attacks the tree leaves causing spots and blotches and can spread to new stems, causing them to die back.
It is not easy to treat this fungus so it’s recommended that you seek out resistant varieties – native UK varieties do not appear affected.
Fun Facts About Dogwood
- In America, it is the State Tree of Missouri and the State Flower of North Carolina and Virginia.
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