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How to Prune Silky Dogwood

By Paula Ezop ; Updated September 21, 2017

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.


Things You Will Need

  • Hand pruning shears
  • Lopping shears
  • Pole pruner
  • Pruning saw
  • Hedge shears


  • 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.

About the Author


Paula M. Ezop’s inspirational column "Following the Spiritual Soul" appeared in "Oconee Today," a Scripps Howard publication. She has published her first book, "SPIRITUALITY for Mommies," and her children's chapter book, "The Adventures of Penelope Star," will be published by Wiggles Press. Ezop has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University and has been writing for 10 years.