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Information about Dogwood

The Dogwoods comprise a group of 30-50 species of deciduous woody plants (shrubs and trees) in the family Cornaceae, divided into one to nine genera or subgenera (depending on botanical interpretation). The flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) is generally described as a Perennial Tree or Shrub. This Dicot (dicotyledon) is native to the U.S. and has its most active growth period in the Spring and Summer. The Flowering Dogwood has a short life span relative to most other plant species and a Moderate growth rate. At maturity, the typical Flowering Dogwood will reach up to 40 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of 40 feet.
Dogwoods are fantastic in winter gardens. Their brightly coloured stems come in citrus yellow, lime, orange or fiery red. They also provide year-round appeal with marbled leaves, fabulous fruits and great autumn colour.
Each species brings its own value to the landscape. The “flowers ” of the flowering dogwood and kousa dogwood are not actually flowers, but bracts, which are modified leaves that look like petals. The true flowers are clustered in the center of these bracts. The “flowers” may be white, pink or yellow. They may bloom in late winter / early spring before leaves appear (flowering dogwood and Cornelian cherry), or later in spring after leaves emerge (kousa). Fruit may be scarlet red (flowering dogwood and Cornelian cherry) or pinkish red (kousa).
To ensure vibrant winter colours, cut back hard in early spring as they’re starting to break into leaf. Cut stems down to four to five buds, a few inches from the ground. Next winter you’ll get the desired results, with the brightly-coloured new stems. If you want to keep a framework, particularly on the variegated species, cut down a third of the stems. Most of the shrub species can be propagated by hardwood cuttings from November to January.
Dogwoods generally prefer moist soil, so can tolerate sites which stay wet, partnering other damp-loving plants such as salix and betula. Flowering Dogwood has Low tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions. While all dogwoods do well in full sun or partial shade, the flowering dogwood prefers partial shade. Good air circulation is necessary to hasten drying of leaves after rainfall and lower the risk of disease. Watering should always be done in the morning to reduce risk of disease.
The flowering dogwood is susceptible to many diseases and pests. The dogwood borer will attack newly planted specimens, trees in poor health and those damaged by lawn mowers or weed trimmers. To reduce mechanical impact (thus insect and disease incidence), provide mulch beneath the canopy of dogwoods. Other problem insects include borers, midges (which cause club-shaped galls or swellings on twigs), scale and leaf miner. Crown canker, spot anthracnose, powdery mildew and leaf-spotting fungi will also attack flowering dogwood.

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