Published On: Sun, Apr 23rd, 2017

Another Dogwood, Sort of, For The Backyard

There’s this corner in the backyard, on the north side of the shed, at the base of an ancient oak tree, where there’s direct light for not very many hours a day.  Because of the oak tree, there are roots as large and thick as branches just under the surface that planting anything there is a challenge.  But I kept poking holes in the ground until I found a spot where I could get just deep enough to plant a Yellow Twig Dogwood.  Just needed something to help add some foliage to a very bleak area.  Then I scattered some grass seeds, advertised as able to grow in extreme shade.  We’ll see.

Yellow Twig Dogwood
Yellow Twig Dogwood
Yellow Twig Dogwood

The tale of yellow-twig dogwood’s contribution to the landscape begins in late winter to early spring, when the golden color of its bark shines brightest. The main branches grow rigidly upright, sticking up high enough out of the snow for Northerners to be able to enjoy them fully even during a winter of heavy snowfalls.

Flat-topped clusters of white flowers provide some interest later in spring, as do the plant’s white berries in summer. The summer green of the leaves yields to a yellow color in autumn, but this color is not rich enough (it is too pale) to make for very good fall foliage.

In fact, although it is fair to treat this plant as one that gives year-round landscaping interest, it would not be worth growing if not for the golden bark that it bears on its stems. This color is at its peak in late winter and early spring. If you want to have more of those brightly-colored stems to admire (and if you have the space), then you are in luck.

That is because these shrubs spread by suckering to form a colony. If you lack the space in your yard for such a colony, “draw a line in the sand” at the point beyond which you do not wish for them to spread. Plunge a sharp spade into the ground along this line, and remove the roots that would have produced new stems.

Yellow Twig Dogwood
Yellow Twig Dogwood

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About the Author

David Gaines

- David Gaines is a Washington, DC, resident transplanted from North Carolina whose dream career was a newspaper writer but settled for the recruiting industry and simply blogging about whatever thoughts crosses his mind.

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