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pruning my dogwood

Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:47 pm
by brian
I have a dogwood( cornus ? ) I put the queustion mark because I still havent found out which one it is but I am still looking. Anyways, It has spread out due to a lack of attention on my part and has started to take over a good section of my lawn. I would like to cut it back so it doesn't protrude from my garden but my concern is that if I cut it back past the part where there is growth all i will be left with is a bunch of stems sticking out and no leaves. My question is whether the plant will regenerate new growth or whether I would be doing irreparable harm to the tree. Any advice would be most appreciated. God bless. Brian :D
I took a chance and pruned it back quite a bit, at least two feet. I don't know if you can tell me what varirty or give me any information on it from these pictures but any help is allways greatly appreciated. :D
God Bless, Brian. :D :D

Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:18 pm
by Jess
Dogwood should be cut by one third to the ground each year (2-3inches from the ground) to get the best from them. Some are best if completely coppiced and some you will lose catkins and flowers if you do this so by doing the one third you cannot go wrong.
If you can poist a picture or give me a description I may be able to tell you which you have.

Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:58 pm
by MaineDesigner
Are you sure that is a dogwood? It looks like Euonymus fortunei to me.

Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 11:15 pm
by brian
I just looked up pictures of Euonymus Fotunei and I think you are right. I allways thought it was a dogwood because that is what someone told me a long time ago. If this keeps up I am going to start wondering if my name is really Brian :lol: Thanks for straightening that out , my question remains the same. How much can I prune it without damaging the plant? Thank you and God Bless, Brian(I think)

Posted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 12:17 am
by TheLorax
There's a Cornus alba out there that does have variegated leaves. The Siberian Dogwood has very distinct red twigs though. MaineDesigner nailed the ID on your plant.

Hmmmm, how far back can you trim it? Level with the ground would be fine considering where you garden :evil smilie:

Posted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:56 am
by brian
over my head, Eh! :lol:
I am also thinking about removing the two trees and replacing them with something else because they are a bit nasty looking unless anyone has a suggestion on what i can do yo make them look a little nicer and healthier? God Bless, Brian. :D

Posted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:57 pm
by TheLorax
No, not over your head which is why I teased with you. I'm sure you've gone online already and know the Siberian Dogwood and your Wintercreeper are both invasive species that have naturalized in your area so even if you did trim that Euonymus to the ground it would still come back. Some children never crawl before walking... some gardeners, such as yourself, are a lot like those children. I suspect because of your openness to new concepts and your willingness to be a good steward to the land that you will blow your peers out of the water in a very short period of time! Way to go Brian! I caught that you are thinking about removing the Euonymus.

Which two trees are you thinking about removing? Maybe people here can come up with a few suggestions for replacements or a few suggestions to make what you have less nasty looking. By the way, what do you mean by nasty looking?

Posted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:44 pm
by brian
Thank you so much for the words of inspiration they mean more than you could know. The trees that i am speaking of are the two evergreens if that is the right term, behind the Euonymus. They are always kind of brown and they are forever filling the garden with sharp needles. You are right about the invasiveness of the Euonymus, i just never noticed how bad it was before. I am thinking that the solution is to start fresh by removing all three before they become a problem for all the other plants and ideas that i have. Any suggestions on what might look nice in thier place would be greatly appreciated. I postedanother picture of the same area under "north facing trellis" God Bless and have a great day. P.S. I don't know what the weather is like where you are right now but it is finally really nice here and I am thinking gardening!

Posted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:53 pm
by TheLorax
I am thinking that the solution is to start fresh by removing all three before they become a problem for all the other plants and ideas that I have.
And this statement my friend, sums up exactly why I commented about you as I did. Few have the foresight to realize it is much easier to deal with many problem plants before they spin out of control creating an even bigger problem than they already do. The "one more won't make a difference" mindset takes a toll on us all.

Conifers aren't for everyone, that's for sure.

May I please have a link to where your photos are posted and will you also please tell me what county you garden in. Then give me an idea of what size tree you are looking for as well as what function you want it to perform. As far as arranging anything or making your property look nice, count me out. I have no design sense.

Weather is great. Up into the 60's so I've been out in the greenhouse on and off this morning re-potting and watering. There is some life out there even after so many visits from Mr. Mouse and all his kinfolk. Does look as if it's going to rain so I'd like to get over to the north side of the house for a little bit to start spring cleaning in that area. I always leave it to last because it frustrates me. You don't by any chance know where I could buy a few bareroot or small Photinia melanocarpa (synonymous with Aronia melanocarpa) do you? I really want to stick a few on the north side of my house by a down spout.

Posted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 5:10 pm
by brian
I will post some pictures when i get a chance later on today, the Photina melanocarpa seems to be native to Conneticut and i am not up on my U.S. geography but you will probably have better luck finding an avenue to purchase one south of the border. I am not sure of the spelling of the state and i will be checking and will edit my post if it is wrong, I don't mean to be rude. I am growing in southern Ontario, Canada to answer your other question. anyways God Bless and enjoy the weather, i will get those pictures posted so you can see what I am up against. Thanks,
Brian :D
Okay I checked, Conecticut, sorry. And I see that it is in the north east region of the U.S. and I believe youare mid-west? so it is probably closer to me than to you. With that in mind I will check around to see if that species is available here, oh bye the way it is a very nice plant!

Posted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 5:29 pm
by TheLorax
Oops, I forgot you were from north of the border and it was right there in front of my face. No, you're not being rude in the least for reminding me where we're from. Obviously somebody has to do it! I've got the permits to import plant material but I'm not in the mood to pay for a phytosanitary cert. Those phytos are expensive! I'll poke around in my area a little bit more. Ideally, I'd like to pick up a few that I want for that north area from the same nursery to save on shipping costs.

Posted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:35 pm
by brian
You misunderstood me, I was talking about bieng rude for not knowing how to spell Connecticut or knowing U.S. geography, it has been a long time since i was in school. Anyways good luck with yourgardening. God Bless, Brian. :D[img][/img]
here is a picture of the trees i am thinking of eliminating. any suggestions for replacements? :D

Posted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:57 am
by TheLorax
Thanks for the giggle over the misunderstanding. You were anything but rude regardless of what your intent was and Lord help me trying to spell Saskatchewan!

The conifers are anything but nasty looking to me but... beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I like conifers.

Hey! That's the front of your house which you said was a northern exposure. Why not try a few of the ones I listed above that I'm either already using or considering? The conifer seems to be out of proportion with your home being a ranch style and those other conifer thingies are now blocking your view from your front window. I love that brick pier in front of your door. Have you seen those plastic planters that are long and narrow that they sell at garden centers? I've seen them in white that would match the trim on your door and your white trellis. Wonder what could be planted in one of those long skinny planters that could be placed on that brick pier? I have a hummingbird feeder outside my front door. It's on a shepherd's hook. I love it. I constantly find myself watching the hummers visit that feeder. I think you might really like a hummingbird feeder in that area. I also have a chipmunk feeder outside my front door. It's a glass juice jar strapped onto a chunk of wood that the squirrels can't get into. I used an old belt that one of the kids had grown out of to strap it down to the wood using a staple gun. I love watching the chippies go in to gorge. If you have any chippies in the area, they will find you if you put out sunflower seeds. I must tell you that you will find sunflowers sprouting in pots though if you do this. They're easy to pull out though.

Here are a few other wildlife trees and shrubs that might work for you to look up to see what you think-
Cornus florida
Sassafras albidum (personal favorite)
Cercis canadensis (check out a cultivar called 'Forest Pansy')
Acer saccharum (I love the color of these in fall)
Hamamelis virginiana
Viburnum cassinoides
Sambucus canadensis
Viburnum dentatum
Lindera benzoin (if you love critters, you should seriously consider this one)
Rubus odoratus
Amelanchier laevis
There are some really nice Viburnum cultivars that are dwarfs that could be used in front of your windows and I think 'Compacta' is one of them or maybe it was 'Alfredo'.

Mix and match!

Say, you gotta check out this place I just found-

You lucky duck you! That's a great looking native plant nursery and it might even be close to you. We have no more native plant nurseries around me.

Posted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 3:45 pm
by brian
Thanks for the link! It is about a half hour from where i live and i am definetely going to check it out and i will let you know what i find. If you go to the trees and shrubs forum under the post need advice, you will see that this morning i got up and made a decision, I posted a picture. I am still in the process of looking up all of the species you suggested, thank you very much! Have a great day and God Bless, Brian :D

Posted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 11:33 am
by brian
I just finished checking out all of the trees you suggested. Thank you for all of your suggestions. Many of the trees you suggested seem like they are a litte large for what i am trying to accomplish unless i should be looking at them with a bonsai mentality wherre they can be shaped and thier heightcontrolled. I made the drastic decision yesterday to clear out the front of my house (I feel it today) :lol: I have attached a picture so you can see the damage i caused. Time to start fresh! I really liked the Vibernum cultivars that you suggested and i am also considering replanting some dwarf evergreens under the window? Oh bye the way you might find this amusing. After taking a compass to the front of my house I realized that my house actually faces exactly northwest, imagine a person from "the true north strong and free" as our national anthem puts it not knowing where true north is :lol: . So I get more sun than a true north exposure would get. God Bless and have a great day!

Posted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:03 pm
by TheLorax
The photo of your home helps a lot! All of the trees I suggested are simply too big. You have an adorable home that should stand out and every tree I suggested is going to be too big.

I'm not surprised to learn your home faces northwest. In looking back, you posted a photo that indicates the area is getting a healthy amount of sun. Good for you, you won't be nearly as limited.

The western exposure of my home is much easier to work with however it has its limitations too.

I personally like evergreens because they provide birds with much needed shelter. I've been planting Pinus resinosa, P. banksiana, and P. strobus here. None of which will work for you but I love them and have been planting them in one particular area of our yard about 80' from the house to multi-task for me. I wanted a wind break to hopefully help reduce some of our utility costs some day and those species will work well once the trees I have planted establish so I can fill in with other species to that area. Cone bearing evergreens provide food in addition to shelter. I do have some very nice lower growing evergreens at the beginning of my driveway. Another area I need to work on so it's sparse down there.

I see a fireplace chimney on the right side of your home. Any way you can plant a vine to run up that or is the area paved for your driveway?

Need some time to think about this but there are a few more Viburnum cultivars and also several critter magnet shrubs that are now screaming at me to suggest so you can look them up to see what you think.

Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 12:56 am
by brian
Hi there,
I was wondering what you know/think about hibiscus syriacus, do you think something like that would work in this location. I was also leaning towards putting in two cedars or similar in a dwarf type that will stay below the windows if they are maintained. If I do that then I would need something colourful in a ground cover in front of them. What do you think? God bless and have a great day, Brian :D

Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 12:58 am
by brian
Oh yeah I almost forgot, I saw a picture of an oriental red japanese maple and it was beautiful, can these be kept small through pruning and shaping? O r is that a dumb tree question? :oops:

Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:56 am
by MaineDesigner
Brian, I'm going to deal with your questions in kind of scattered order. In response to several of your questions it would really help to know when direct sun hits that area.

First, regarding Japanese maples if you can find an Acer palmatum var dissectum with a very low graft height you should be able to keep it below the window but those are not always easy to find. They may be marginally hardy in your area in your area but if they are so low that they will have snow cover that would help. The sun situation is not ideal for Japanese maples, they do better with AM sun going into shade in the afternoon.

Cedars, actually they are not true cedars, want 2/3 to full sun. Unless the light gets there very early in the afternoon I don't think you have enough light for "happy" cedars. Ditto Rose of Sharon. With some some minor exceptions that are not really germane here the only needled evergreens that will fairly readily break new growth on old wood are yews and hemlocks. That ability is important if you are trying to keep the shrub/tree a confined size.

Ground cover recommendations would also be greatly assisted if we knew how much direct light that spot gets. My knee jerk impulse is epimediums but that is partly because I love epimediums and they are adaptable. They are subtle rather than most peoples sense of colorful.

Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 11:25 am
by brian
Brian, I'm going to deal with your questions in kind of scattered order. In response to several of your questions it would really help to know when direct sun hits that area
The area gets direct sun from 3:00 pm to 7:30 pm or maybe a bit later as the days grow longer
The sun situation is not ideal for Japanese maples, they do better with AM sun going into shade in the afternoon.

This was just a thought
My knee jerk impulse is epimediums but that is partly because I love epimediums and they are adaptable.
I will look these up , thankyou so much for the info, God bless, Brian :D

Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 12:48 pm
by MaineDesigner
More scattered thoughts about possible ground covers:
Epimedium these still strike me as a good choice
Polygonatum a taller ground cover but another personal favorite
Geranium macrorrhizum or maybe G. phaeum
Some grasses might go - maybe Deschampsia*
Ditto some ferns - maybe Dryopteris would be a viable option
Hosta maybe
There also are number of bulbs that should work

with more substantial reservations:
Convallaria majalis Lily-of-the-Valley

*not strictly a grass but Luzula, Woodrush, might be a possibility. TheLorax may have other good suggestions for ferns and grasses, sedges and rushes.

Posted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 6:13 pm
by TheLorax
You asked about rhododendrons. There are Northern Lights out there that might do quite well in that area. The one that comes to mind for you with the white trim on your home would be Rhododendron "White Lights". It’s deciduous and would grow to somewhere around 4-5’.

Hibiscus syriacus has become a weed down here. Don’t know that it would be a weed up by you or not though. I had received some in a plant exchange and have since destroyed them when they began re-seeding into a natural area on my property.

Japanese maples I sure do like a lot but have very little experience with them.

Convallaria majalis might do too well by you. That one is the European Lily of the Valley and it’s documented as being an invasive species-

Since you have considerably more light, I think you might want to check out Rhus aromatica ‘Grow-Lo’. Neat plant that I have growing in full sun as well as in part sun and it’s doing equally well in both locations. The size might lend itself to front spots in your bed. Some refer to it as a ground cover. Scratching my head at that one.

Buxus spp. (Boxwood) might be worth checking into for the area directly in front of your windows. They seem to be bombproof and tolerant of full sun to part sun. Many cultivars available and most have low growth habits and you can whack at them with wild abandon.

Another plant I think might be a great performer would be Ceanothus herbaceous. It’s sold down here under the synonym of C. ovatus so look it up both ways. Height of about 2.5-3’ on that one.

Backing up to viburnums a little bit, there’s a ‘Chicago Lustre’ out there that might tickle your fancy. Nice height of only about 8’ . There are too many viburnum cultivars to list and I really think a regular old Viburnum trilobum cultivar would do very well out front and most of those would be in the same height range of the ‘Chicago Lustre’. I’m personally looking for ‘Hahs’ but I have 'Bailey Compact', ‘Wentworth’, and ‘Alfredo’ here. All are exceptional plants.

Corylus americana is a plant I like to toss in whenever I can. It fruits at around 5-6 years and many species of birds love and depend upon the hazelnuts for survival. I like its delicate blossoms in spring.

Many shrubs can attain decent heights and can work like a tree in confined spaces. I am particularly fond of multi stem forms.

Epimediums I don’t grow. Like the looks of them and think they are a good suggestion. I don’t see them out and about so why not try a few? Experiment. If they get weedy for you, waste them. I can’t see them doing that up that far north though.

I share MaineDesigner’s substantial reservations regarding Lamium. Aside from that, it makes me itch and I get hives up my arms when I remove it. I’ll plant Poison Ivy before I’d plant that. At least Poison Ivy benefits migrating birds. And yes, I leave a few Poison Ivy plants on my property specifically for the birds but I’ve got much more space than you and certainly am not suggesting you use that on your trellis.

Speaking of that trellis, I now believe you might be able to have luck with a Clematis.

Awww gee thanks MaineDesigner ;) Grasses, sedges, and rushes are by far my weakest area. I am familiar with quite a few that are indigenous to where I garden, some of the most common that are regional wetland species, and sort of so so with tall grass prairie grasses. I have been taught how to key them out and it just isn’t sinking in for me. They really all start looking alike to me after a while. When I determine which species I want, I purchase them from reputable nurseries that I am counting on to have provided me with the proper plant. I have great success propagating grasses and sedges but after that I’d be doomed. Ferns I am fair to midland with. Have done some spore propagation with them and have used them on my property here. In order to make suggestions, I’d have to know if grasses even appeal to you or not and mind you… my suggestions will be very limited.

Spring ephemerals are always a great choice. What I like best about them is that you can plant other species to grow up through them to continue the show through the growing season.

Posted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 10:47 am
by brian
Thank you both once again for all of the information. It willl take me a little while to researh all of the suggestions you made and then I will get back to you. I am going to hit some garden centres and tree farms in my area to see what is available but at least I feel like I am a tiny bit more knowledgeable and will be able to tell the difference between staff that know what they are talking about and those who don't. Thanks again and have a great day! God Bless, Brian :D