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Redosier DogwoodCornus sericea

  • Redosier Dogwood - Cornus sericea
  • Redosier Dogwood - Cornus sericea

The redosier dogwood is loved by gardeners, landscapers and homeowners for its hardiness and versatility. It can grow in a myriad of conditions, including wet soil. Its thicket-forming habit makes it a great hedge option. And the fibrous root system provides effective erosion control on banks and slopes.

The biggest selling point, though, is the shrub’s deep red stems. This vibrant hue remains through winter, creating a pop of color in the snowy, gray months.

Hardiness Zones

The redosier dogwood can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 2–7. View Map

Tree Type

This is an ornamental shrub, typically planted for the visual interest and beauty it can bring to landscape.

Mature Size

The redosier dogwood grows to a height of 7–9' and a spread of around 10' at maturity.

Growth Speed Fast Growth Rate

This shrub grows at a fast rate, with height increases of more than 24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun and partial shade are best for this shrub, meaning it prefers a minimum of 4 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The redosier dogwood is very adaptable, growing in acidic to alkaline soils. It prefers moist soils and often grows in wet swamp lands. It does not, however, tolerate excessively dry soil.

Attributes

This shrub:
  • Features vibrant red stems that make a bold statement in the wintertime landscape.
  • Produces attractive clusters of white flowers in mid- to late spring.
  • Yields pea-sized white drupes that mature in late summer to early fall.
  • Is easy to transplant.
  • Needs to be pruned only once a year.
  • Can be cut back to the ground regularly for the red color of the younger stems to be more prevalent.
  • Features opposite, simple leaves, ovate to oblong-lancelolate in shape and 2–5" in length. The medium to dark green summer color changes to a ruddy red or purple in the fall.
  • Has slow horizontal growth.
  • Grows in a rounded shape.
  • Can be planted 3–4' apart to make a hedge.

Wildlife Value

The redosier dogwood provides dense cover for wildlife. The white berries are eaten by at least 18 species of birds including ruffled grouse, bobwhite quail, wild turkey and gray catbird. The twigs and foliage are browsed by elk, deer, moose, rabbits and chipmunks.

History/Lore

The redosier dogwood is native to North America, with a range that extends over most of the United States from Newfoundland to Mexico, California to Virginia. It is also known as red dogwood, redstem dogwood, and red willow.

Native Americans use the inner bark in tobacco mixtures in the sacred pipe ceremony. Some tribes ate the sour berries while others made arrow shafts, bows, stakes and other tools from the branches and shoots. The leaves, bark and roots were used to make medicines.

Redosier dogwood is also used for basket weaving. If the bark is gathered in the early spring, it will retain its deep red color when dried.