Redosier Dogwood (Sericea)

The Redosier Dogwood (Sericea) is generally described as a perennial tree or shrub. This is native to the U.S. (United States) has its most active growth period in the spring and summer . The Redosier Dogwood (Sericea) has green foliage and inconspicuous white flowers, with a smattering of conspicuous white fruits or seeds. The greatest bloom is usually observed in the spring, with fruit and seed production starting in the summer and continuing until summer. Leaves are not retained year to year. The Redosier Dogwood (Sericea) has a moderate life span relative to most other plant species and a moderate growth rate. At maturity, the typical Redosier Dogwood (Sericea) will reach up to 12 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of 12 feet.

The Redosier Dogwood (Sericea) is easily found in nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors. It can be propagated by bare root, container, cuttings, seed. It has a slow ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have medium vigor. Note that cold stratification is not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below -38°F. has low tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

The primary use of this species is for streambank protection. It can be planted alone or with other species, such as willows. Other beneficial uses are for fish and wildlife habitat improvement, windbreaks, slope stabilization, borders, and as an ornamental.

General Characteristics

Redosier dogwood is a large shrub, often 6-9 feet in height. The growth habit is upright rounded, but where stems are in contact with the ground, roots are formed. This behavior creates thickets. This dogwood has bright red stems in the fall, winter and early spring, which turn greenish in the summer. It also has white pith, dark green ovate leaves, white flowers, and whitish colored fruit. There are 18,500 seeds per pound.

Required Growing Conditions

Redosier dogwood is adapted from Ohio to Maine and south to northern Virginia and New Jersey. It performs best in soils that are moist, somewhat poorly drained, moderately acidic to neutral, and in areas that have medium to coarse soils. It is tolerant of some shade but not of droughty conditions.

Cultivation and Care

Streambanks that have steep slopes must first be graded. The slope should be 1:1 or flatter. Any trees considered unstable should be removed. One year old rooted cuttings should be used for planting. Plant in early spring, preferably before May. Do not plant after June 1. Plant the cuttings two feet apart for streambank erosion control, four to six feet apart for wildlife habitat. Establishment with other species, such as willow and other riparian species, is a good practice. On sites with banks that may become dry over the summer, utilize redosier dogwood next to the water, with willows above. Immediately after planting, grasses and legumes may be planted to provide initial stabilization. After 2 or 3 years the dogwoods will become effective. The cultivar 'Ruby' is vulnerable to livestock browsing. In order to ensure survival, fencing must be incorporated into the plan.Redosier dogwood can also be mixed with willows in soil bioengineering methods. Stems can be used in live fascines, brush layering and brush mattressing.Rooted hardwood cuttings are taken in January, allowed to develop callus in refrigerated storage, and planted in mid-May in well drained soil 2 inches apart. The cuttings should be 1/4-1/2 inch in diameter and 9 to 12 inches long. They should be planted with about 2 inches exposed above ground level. Rooting hormone is recommended to enhance success in the nursery.

General Upkeep and Control

Erosion is a continuous process and, because of this, careful management is required at these streambank plantings. The areas should be examined each spring after the major runoff period has ended. Areas where vegetation has been destroyed must be immediately replaced with new plants. If any mechanical measures are being used to prevent erosion, they must also be maintained to prevent any more damage.

Pests and Potential Problems 'Ruby' redosier dogwood has few problems with disease or insect pests. There has been some problem with cicadas stinging the stems. Lesions and cankers may also occur. However, these are not pathogenic and are thought to just be the tree's reaction to injury.

Cultivars, Improved, and Selected Materials (and area of origin) 'Ruby' (NY) redosier dogwood was released in 1988 from the Big Flats, NY Plant Materials Center. It is available from commercial nurseries.

Plant Basics
Growth Rate Moderate
General Type Tree, Shrub
Growth Period Spring, Summer
Growth Duration Perennial
Lifespan Moderate
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.
Commercial Availability Routinely Available
Physical Characteristics
Bloom Period Spring
Displays Fall Colors Yes
Shape/Growth Form Multiple Stem
Drought Tolerance Low
Shade Tolerance Intolerant
Height When Mature 12
Vegetative Spread Moderate
Flower Color White
Flower Conspicuousness Yes
Fruit/Seed Abundance Low
Fruit/Seed Seasonality Summer Summer
Seed Spread Rate Slow
Gardening Characteristics
Propagations (Ways to Grow) Bare Root, Container, Cuttings, Seed
Moisture Requirements High
Cold Stratification Required Yes
Minimum Temperature -38
Soil Depth for Roots 20
Toxic to Nearby Plants No
Toxic to Livestock No
After-Harvest Resprout Ability Yes
Responds to Coppicing No
Growth Requirements
pH Range 4.8–7.5 pH
Precipitation Range 18–18 inches/yr
Planting Density 1212–4850 indiv./acre
Soil Textures Coarse, Fine, Medium
Soil Depth for Roots 20
Minimum Frost-Free Days 90 day(s)
Salinity Tolerance Low
CaCO3 Tolerance None
Sustainability & Use
Leaf Retention No
Palatability High
Fire Resistant No
Causes Livestock Bloating None

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database,
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA