How to Train a Dogwood Shrub


Dogwood shrubs are easy to grow and thrive in almost any soil condition from USDA zones 4 through 9. Dogwood can be planted as an accent piece in the landscape, grouped to fill an open area or grown in a line to create a windbreak. The woody stems of the shrub produce blooms in the spring. Some dogwood shrub varieties, like red twig, produce winter interest with brilliant red stems and can reach heights and widths of 8 feet. You can train a dogwood shrub to grow to a desired shape by pruning it.

Step 1

Allow the shrub to grow the first year it is in the ground. In the winter or early spring of the second year, use loppers or hand pruners to cut the stems to about 2 inches above ground. The shrub will grow in fuller.

Step 2

Use hedge clippers in the winter or early spring to crop the top or sides to maintain the shrub at a desired privacy or windbreak height and width.

Step 3

Prune each winter or early spring. Cut broken stems and about one-third of both old and new growth to keep the shrub confined. Overgrown dogwood shrubs can be cut to about 6 inches from the ground.

Things You'll Need

  • Loppers
  • Hand pruners
  • Hedge clippers


  • Nature Hills Nursery: Dogwood Shrubs
  • About Dogwood: Dogwood Shrubs
  • Yardener: Red Twig Dogwood

Who Can Help

  • Redosier Dogwood
Keywords: train dogwood shrub, dogwood bush, prune dogwood shrub

About this Author

Barbara Raskauskas is a certified e-learning specialist and certified Microsoft Office specialist. She has written web content, technical documents and course material for a decade. Raskauskas now writes how-to's, product reviews and general topics published on several websites, including Demand Studios.