Now that the leaves have fallen, we notice any scrap of color outside our windows! Shrubby dogwoods offer stems of yellow, red or coral as a means of photosynthesizing during winter. By spring, these stems will magically turn dark again as the new leaf buds emerge.
There are newer, more compact cultivars for smaller gardens that remain about 4’ x 4’, or you may have space for a large plant that grows to 8’ x 8.’ To keep the winter twig color fresh, remove older, dark stems now or in early spring.
These plants can also be “stooled” or cut to the ground every few years in early spring to encourage bright-colored new growth. Their rate of growth is fast, and what may look like death to the plant soon encourages fresh regrowth at a slightly smaller size in the first year. However, we usually remove only about one-third of the stems annually, mainly the oldest wood.