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Dogwoods - now you're barking up the right tree! The Cornus or Dogwood genus of trees and shrubs has family members from both North America and Asia. The Dogwood most commonly grown in NZ hails from North America and is known as Cornus florida. In this case "florida" actually means flowering rather than place of origin. The Americans love this tree so much it is the State tree for both Virginia and Missouri. Cornus kousa which hails from Japan is becoming more popular in NZ and Cornus kousa Moonlight is a firm favourite with the team here at Wairere. All Dogwoods are deciduous and frost hardy with the exception of Cornus capitata which is semi evergreen and only tolerates light frost.
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To get the best from Dogwoods you really must be able to give them the conditions they thrive on. They require a sunny spot with no more than the lightest shade plus deep nourishing soil that is not too wet in winter. Dogwoods love a cold winter and hot dry summer. For those who have warm winters (Waikato North) then try Cornus Eddies White Wonder which has been bred to cope with warmer temperatures. If you do not provide Cornus with the correct conditions they can become susceptible to anthracnose disease which is a fungus disease typified by brown to tan irregular spots and blotches on the leaves. This can be treated with fungicide but prevention with the correct cultural requirements is really the answer.
Dogwoods flower in spring, the "flower" is made up of four bracts that surround a small central dome. With some varieties showy "strawberry" like fruits follow the flowers. All Dogwoods should have excellent autumn colour and this is probably their most highly valued feature. Look for variegated varieties which have fabulous foliage interest throughout spring, summer and autumn.
*In case you are curious the name Dogwood is said to have come from the fact that the bark from the tree was used to make up a solution for bathing mangy dogs! There is also the legend that the wood from the Dogwood was used to make the cross Jesus was crucified on and ever since that time the tree has had 4 floral bracts to represent the cross with a red centre to represent the blood of Christ. The tree will also never grow large enough to provide timber for another cross.
Cornus or Dogwood, fact or fiction, no matter which, is always a worthy choice for a special specimen tree or group planting.
Pagoda Dogwood. This attractive tree has a tiered arrangement of branches decorated with layers of fresh green leaves. In late spring small sprays of creamy white flowers appear and are followed by black berries. Plant in a sunny spot in rich well drained soil. Deciduous. Est.10yr.growth.
Dogwood. A wonderful tree with tiered branches and broad clusters of prominent cream coloured flowers in early summer. Really something in full flower. The flowers are followed by small black fruits. Glossy green summer foliage turns rich purplish-red before leaf fall. Deciduous. Est.10yr.growth.
Bred in NZ, this version of the popular 'Wedding Cake Tree' has green leaves with margins of creamy gold. The branches have a most unusual layered pattern hence the common name. Pretty white flowers in summer. Plant in sun or semi-shade in rich fertile well drained soil. Deciduous. Est.10yr.growth.
This tree is a beautiful specimen for that prime front lawn position. It needs space around it in order to really show off the layers.
This unique and special Cornus is highly valued for the unusual layered structure of its branches giving it the common name of 'The Wedding Cake Tree'. The new foliage is soft green edged with cream accented by the reddish tinge of the new branches. Little white flowers in summer. Est.10yr.growth.
A very special feature tree that deserves space to grow unhindered so it can show off its unique structure. Always admired and a recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit.
Dogwood. In spring the bare branches are decorated by pretty pink bracts that surround the tiny flower which in itself is insignificant. Fresh green summer foliage has attractive autumn tones prior to leaf fall. Plant in the sun in nice rich acid soil for best results. Deciduous. Est.10yr.growth.
This Dogwood is valued for the decorative variegated foliage. The fresh green leaves are attractively margined in creamy white with just a hint of pink in spring. The flower bracts are showy and white. Excellent autumn colour. Plant in a sunny position in nice rich soil. Deciduous. Est.10yr.growth.
You'll be on 'Cloud 9' when you see the profusion of pure white large flower bracts that appear in spring on this lovely tree. More tolerant of heat than many other Cornus and all together quite strong and vigorous. The dark green summer foliage colours well prior to leaf fall. Est.10yr.growth.
An extremely popular 'Dogwood' and deservedly so. A reliable performer in most climates. Handles the heat well compared to others in the family. Large showy white bracts appear in spring followed by fresh green summer foliage that turns scarlet and orange in autumn prior to leaf fall. Est.10yr.growth.
Dogwood. Attractive green and gold variegated foliage are the main feature of this deciduous tree. However in spring you will be delighted by the white flower bracts that are followed by red fruits in autumn. Plant in sun or part shade in nice rich acid soil for best results. Est.10yr.growth.
An attractive and unusual small weeping 'Dogwood' which would look lovely in a container. The pure white flower bracts appear on graceful pendulous branches in spring. These are sometimes followed by red fruits. Plant in a sunny position in nice rich soil for best results. Deciduous.