Cool Member
Posts: 94
Joined: Wed May 30, 2007 1:35 pm
Location: Idaho, USA

Experimenting with dogwood

Hi guys,

It's been awhile since I've posted here. Hey, it's spring, ya know....

So yesterday I was leaving work, and the landscapers were pruning a large stand of red twig dogwoods at the edge of the parking lot. They had several large stacks of branches (well, trunks really) piled up.
Many of these were 2"-3" dia. with mature bark on the main trunk and green/semi hardwood secondary branches intact.

Now, I should preface this with a bit of a story. Ordinarily, I would not think much of the chances of rooting a hardwood branch in the spring. But I was recently surprised.
I have a friend who also has a long hedge-like growth of these red-twig dogwoods along the side of her backyard.
I was recently rooting some trimmings from one of my larger ficus, and was in need of some supports for the "sticks" that were going into the propagation medium. She went to her car, and retrieved some semi-hard cuttings from her dogwoods several feet long for me to use.
I cut these down some ( to 6" or so) and stuck one in the pot as a support. When I asked her where she got them she said she had intended to throw them away, but decided to see if I wanted them. They had been in the trunk of her car for a couple of months!

Well, about a month later, I was checking on the progress of the ficus cuttings, and to my surprise, the dogwood stick was leafing out! A tug on it told me there were indeed roots as well. Now, it did not have a rootball, but definately was growing roots. I separated it from the growing bed, and potted it , where it continues to grow.
As the dogwood cuttings were dormant, I assume that the introduction to warm indoor temps and the sudden availability of damp growing medium woke them up.

I am very impressed with the resilience of these plants. So I picked out several of the branches ~ 2 - 2 1/2" in dia. and took them home. I cut each branch to ~ 12-16" long, and reduced the secondary growth to a few long-ish twigs on one end of each "trunk", trimmed 2-3" of the cambium/bark off the other end, applied root hormone, and stuck them firmly into a 2gal. pot with a 50/50 organic/turface mix. Also, the trunks are just peppered with latent buds.
From the quick research that I have done, the recommendation for red twig dogwoods is hardwood cuttings in the fall. Other info suggests that these are some of the most prolific and resilient plants anywhere, and that they can be propagated with a thought.

Anyway, I could not resist the temptation to experiment. I will try to get some pics up for your enjoyment :P and will update progress ( or lack of) as the spring progresses.

Here's some general info -


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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A


I have my doubts about the possible success of the new cuttings. Hardwood cuttings are generally taken during the dormant period and allowed to form a callous while in storage. I suspect that your friend inadvertently duplicated this method by taking the cuttings and then storing them for you. I think you just got lucky with the situation but it never hurts to try.


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