How to Prune Redosier Dogwood

Fall Twigs and Foliage image by Marci Degman


The redosier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera) is often referred to as the red twig dogwood. It is a West Coast native shrub that is grown for its fall foliage and bright red winter twigs. Once the cold weather begins the twigs develop there intense color. Redosier dogwood is often used to naturalize wetland and riparian areas. How you prune this shrub will depend on how you plan to use it.

Step 1

Make your pruning choices. Left alone this shrub will reach around 9 feet tall. With pruning it can easily be kept at 4-5 feet tall. Pruning it completely to the ground will result in more colorful red twigs.

Step 2

Prune the shrub. Maintenance pruning can be done in the fall. Remove dead or odd-looking twigs and reduce the overall height by one-third. Wait until early spring if you plan to cut your dogwood to the ground. The idea is to enjoy the red twigs through the winter and then cut them.

Step 3

Clean up and evaluate the site. Haul off the cut twigs. Redosier dogwood spreads by runners and will develop into a clump. Prune away any runners if you do not want more shrubs.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruners
  • Wheelbarrow


  • "Sunset Western Garden Book," Sunset Books, 2007
Keywords: riparian, dogwood, redosier dogwood, red osier

About this Author

Marci Degman has been a landscape designer and horticulture writer since 1997. She has an Associate of Applied Science in landscape technology and landscape design from Portland Community College. Degman writes a newspaper column for the "Hillsboro Argus" and radio tips for KUIK. Her teaching experience for Portland Community College has set the pace for her to write online instructional articles.

Photo by: Marci Degman