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How to Care for Growing Redwood Dogwoods

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For the year-round gardening enthusiast, redwood dogwoods, more commonly referred to as red twig dogwoods, provide showy winter interest during an otherwise bleakly colored season. While this deciduous shrub’s leaves fall during autumn, its stems become vivid to deep red during the colder months, providing a contrasting splash of warm color to your cold season landscape. In addition, red twig dogwoods provide spring interest with white flowers. Provide consistent care as these plants are susceptible to disease.

Difficulty:
Moderate

Instructions

Things You’ll Need
  • Pruning shears
  • Fungicide
  • Gardening gloves
    1. Plant red twig dogwood shrubs in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 2 to 7 for best growth.
    2. Grow redwood dogwood shrubs in areas of the home landscape that provide full sun to partial shade, though these plants perform best in full sun.
    3. Maintain moist to wet, well-drained soil, whenever possible. Red twig dogwoods can tolerate dry soil for short periods.
    4. Prune back stems during the beginning of spring. Perform a severe pruning as a means of promoting more vibrant winter twig color and to prevent stem canker, a common red twig dogwood disease, suggests the University of Illinois Extension.
    5. Examine your dogwood shrubs regularly, looking for any abnormalities that signal a possible disease like the fungal infection powdery mildew, to which redwood dogwoods are highly susceptible. Look for a white, powdery growth on leaf surfaces. Watch for yellowing leaves and early leaf drop also as the powdery growth does not always appear. Send a leaf sample to your local county extension agent for an accurate diagnosis before moving forward with treatment.
    6. Prune away affected plant parts. Collect and destroy pruned parts and fallen plant material to decrease the severity of the infection and prevent it from spreading. Apply a fungicide for severe infections. Spray your red twig dogwood shrub with a chemical fungicide with the active ingredient myclobutanil for control.

Tips & Warnings

  • Feel free to plant red twig dogwood in wet areas as these trees function particularly well in high moisture areas as well as on hillsides.

  • Red twig dogwood trees tolerate a variety of problems including wind, pollution and alkaline soil.

  • Always wear gardening gloves to prevent injury when handling sharp tools like pruning shears.

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