It’s time to prune Dogwood’s

One of Charlie’s other favourite walks is Primrose Hill Community Woodland which is a fantastic facility on the north side of Bath. We walk there regularly and it’s wonderful to watch the progress of the seasons in an environment that has a wide variety of woodland tree and hedge species, all being well maintained by volunteers. At this time of year, it all looks a bit brown and drab though clearly Charlie finds plenty to sniff.

Primrose Hill Community Woodland near Batch in early March

And then suddenly you turn a corner and there’s an avenue of Dogwood’s looking extremely striking on a sunny day.

Dogwood at Primrose Hill Community Woodland near Bath in early March

The pruning advice for Dogwood’s is that you trim each stem down to a shrubby framework just 10cm from the ground at this time of year and then new bright vibrant straight stems will emerge – it is said that if you don’t do this each year, the colour vibrancy will fade over time, but this photograph shows that very mature Dogwood’s (I’d guess these plants are maybe 10 years old) can also be left un-pruned to form very tall (this photograph shows it at 4m tall) informal hedges – in some areas it’s planted next to mounds of Lonicera pileata which also looks fab. So, either hard prune your Dogwood’s now (the yellow stemmed variety Cornus Stoloifera is treated the same as the red stemmed Cornus Alba or the vivid red stemmed Cornus Sibirica) or if you’d like more height, try leaving them this year to see if next winter’s colour is still as strong.


9 thoughts on “It’s time to prune Dogwood’s

  1. if you trim dogwood down to the 10cm mark from the ground, how can you get a proper hedge out of it? Or does it grow even faster when cut back?

  2. Hi, thanks for this question. People use Dogwood for different purposes – some use it as a block of colour in winter (and for that it’s best cut down each year) and some use it for barrier hedging (in which case leave it at the height required) and some use it to add colour into a mixed hedge (in which case, as it’s the strong colour that’s important try to find it amongst the other species and trim it down in March). As well as the strong stem colour, Dogwood’s also have pleasant leaves in late spring/summer and spring flowers so it’s a species with many aspects.


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  4. Hey
    Im in prrston which is a long way from you in Bath , but i have a question for you
    if i plant dogwood red and yellow alternately will it be ok to look at it?

  5. With internet businesses, it doesn’t matter where you are!
    People generally plant a clump of red Dogwood and then a clump of yellow Dogwood –although there’s no reason why you can’t plant alternately – and it might look good but I’ve never seen it planted that way.


  6. I have just identified a shrub in my garden as Cornus. Is it now too late to Prune it (late May)? It wasn’t pruned last year either. (Prior to that I have no idea as I have only lived here 18 months)
    Many thanks

  7. Hi Anne

    Yes, really it is too late to prune a Cornus – you’d be better allowing it to flower this year and prune it in February next year.

  8. As my cornus hasn’t been pruned for at least 2 years, is it ok to go into the old wood? Or should I just cut back down to just above last year’s growth?

  9. “Yes, you can cut into old wood – it might set it back a bit next year but should recover fully and produce the vivid stem colour that these plants provide”

    Kind regards

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