Yellow Twig Dogwood

A Few Facts About The Yellow Twig Dogwood

The Yellow Twig dogwood is one of 65 species of dogwood. It is a deciduous shrub, typically growing to a height of 6 or 7 feet with a spread of roughly 3 feet. The Yellow Twig dogwood is noted for its star-shaped white blossoms, its white berries, and especially for its yellow hued stems which provide winter interest.

This dogwood has white berries, and although the berries of all dogwoods are generally considered edible, the berries of many species being used in jams and jellies and even used in making dogwood wine, the berries of the Yellow Stem dogwood are not usually given much of a mention as a food item. Adding the fact that many white berries are not edible suggests that one should check first before using Yellow Twig dogwood berries to cook up a batch of jam.

Culture And Propagation - Yellow Twig dogwoods grow best in temperate to colder zones, which is to say USDA Zones 1 through 7 (although some sources say Zones 3 through 8), and are able to withstand extremely cold winter temperatures. Most plantings of this species will be found in the northern tier of states as well as throughout Canada. This plant can be grown in either full sun or partial shade, but when grown in full sun the color of the bark will tend to be brightest, adding significantly to the beauty of a gardener's winter landscape. This species of dogwood can be propagated by hardwood or semi-hardwood cuttings and by any one of several layering techniques. The flowers are generally sterile, so the plant can usually not be grown from seed, or if it does grow from seed may not grow true. Seed collecting for the purpose of propagation is therefore not recommended.

Many gardeners have found the this dogwood to be at its best, especially for a winter landscape, when planted en masse or planted in combination with one of the red twig species of dogwood. The plants will provide a definite splash of color in a winter garden otherwise dominated by evergreens.

Soil And Pruning - Unlike most garden trees and shrubs, the Yellow Twig (also called Yellowtwig) dogwood does not seem to mind being placed in wet areas having somewhat poor drainage. Still the plant will do best if not standing in water much of the time and if a generous amount of humus has been added to the soil at planting time. This species is also very useful when planted in sloping areas as a means of providing erosion control though its many branching stolons making up the root system.

For best results, established plants should be pruned in late winter. The new growth, which occurs the following season, will be that which provides the most stem color the following winter, so those growing these plants usually prune out about a third of the oldest branches every second or third year.

The botanical name for the Yellow Twig dogwood is Cornus stolonifera Flaviramea. Cornus refers to the toughness of the wood of the plant, and stolonifera refers to the aforementioned stolons making up the root systems of the various species. Flaviramea is the name of the variety, and in this case is Latin for "yellow branched".

This dogwood species is perhaps not as well known as some of the other species, with many gardeners preferring the pink dogwoods, the color referring to the blossoms and not to the bark. If you live in an area having rather long and gray winters, this might be a worthwhile plant to consider. A mass of yellow twigs against a snowy backdrop can brighten up anyone's day.