The Q&A Archives: Redtwig Dogwood

Question: We have had 5 redtwig dogwood bushes for 8 years and they have done great. This year several of the branches on two of the plants are dying. We do not see any bugs on the leaves. Any suggestions as to the problem?

Answer: What you describe sounds perfectly normal for your plant. The Red Twig Dogwood has a fairly loose growth habit, with new stems growing up from the ground yearly. It will grow to six to eight feet tall, and equally as wide, if left to itself.

Regular pruning will keep this shrub looking its best, since the reddest stems are those that are younger. Older stems will get grayish with time. Pruning should be done after they bloom, or in late winter if you aren't concerned with the flowers. If you have a very overgrown specimen, you can cut the entire shrub back to the ground, and it will be just fine, rewarding you with a flush of young red stems within a year. Fertilizing should be done in early spring. I use some PlanTone scratched into the soil around the base of the plant, and then I foliar feed with fish emulsion just as the shrub is starting to leaf out. The Red Twig adapts to almost any soil, but prefers slightly moist conditions. It does well in full sun to part shade.

I'd simply cut off the dead branches - new ones will appear from the base of the plant.

Best wishes with your garden~

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