Silver Leaf Dogwood, Beauty Year Round
By Jos Van Hage
Flowering shrubs are a major part in many landscapes. Either planted in mass or as a single plant they add colour and in many cases year round interest.
The silver leaf dogwood also known as red twig dogwood or (Cornus Alba) is a flowering shrub that will certainly give you your monies worth as it is attractive throughout the year. During the spring/summer it is the attractive foliage that catches the eye. The leaves are greyish green with irregular creamy white margins that in the fall are accented with pink.
It is a good plant to brighten up a darker area in the yard. In early summer there are flat clusters of white blooms and in the fall there are berries that attract the birds for winter feeding. It is in the winter when this bush stands out especially against the white snow because of its long bright red stems. The stems can also be used for arrangements.
Silver leaf dogwood grows well in full sun and is shade tolerant making a good choice to plant underneath larger trees if there is not a lot of shade. They grow well in most soils and because of their shallow wide spreading fibrous roots they can dry out so plant them in an area that can receive moisture. Because their root systems are wide spreading they are good for erosion control on slopes provided that they get enough moisture.
The Cornus Alba grows 8-10 feet high and 6 feet wide and there is a smaller variety know as 'Ivory Halo' that grows 5 feet high and 5 feet wide. It is easily pruned which is done in early spring. To keep stems bright red remove one-third of the oldest more duller stems every spring so that the plant will produce new brightly coloured stems.
There are not many deciduous shrubs that can add so much winter colour to a landscape and brighten up a summer landscape like the silver leaf dogwood!
Jos Van Hage owns and operates two Art Knapp Home and Garden centres in Prince George:
Highway 16 west at Kimball Road
Highway 97 North at Northwood Pulpmill road
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