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How to Prune Silky Dogwood

Pruning your silky dogwood is vital for keeping the flowering shrub healthy and for maintaining the shape you want it to have. The plant is native to Ohio and can grow to a height of 6 to 10 feet with a width of 6 to 10 feet and can be used as a hedge or accent plant depending on how you prune it. The shrub does well in wet soils but can adapt to dry soils as well. The stems of mature shrubs are red, eventually turning gray. In winter they add a reddish-purple hue to your landscape.

Examine your silky dogwood bush closely for damaged and diseased branches and prune them immediately. While the silky dogwood is a hardy specimen, you must remove damaged or diseased branches not only for appearances but for the health of the plant.

Prune one of the heavier canes of the shrub down to ground level. The mature silky dogwood shrub generally has 4 to 6 heavy canes, and you can prune any one of these canes without damaging its appearance. Make this cut in early spring or any time in the dormant season. It initiates new growth and produces a denser shrub.

Prune the shrub to the shape you desire. The silky dogwood can be an accent shrub, a privacy hedge and in some instances a wind-break. Make these cuts in late fall or early spring.

Prune Red Dogwood Bushes

Sharpen pruning shears, loppers or a saw. Sharp tools keep from shredding the pruned branches, reducing the chance of invading diseases or pests. Cut the branches with sharp pruning shears, loppers or a saw at the base near the ground above the first leaf node. Prune red dogwood bushes in late fall after the leaves have dropped. The oldest branches are the largest ones that have turned brown and have a sandpaper-like texture. A flush of new growth will appear during the next growing season, restoring the shrub.


The tool that you use will depend upon the size of the branches that you need to cut.

Electric hedge trimmers will rip/tear the branches and therefore should be avoided. Use manual hedge shears.

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