This is a follow-up for a post I wrote in mid-April when we tried 3 different methods for planting Redosier Dogwood.

wide-angle-from-lloyds-laneThe yard area carved out around Underhill House was a vast wasteland at that time.  New construction, even when you are trying to be as green as possible seems to leave conditions that resemble a war zone in its wake.  And it is common to really compact the soil around a new home so that the water will run down and away on this nice, hard surface.  This is good for drainage and disastrous for plants.April-28-2013-from-drive

We chose to start addressing this no-plant’s-land by transplanting some twigs and then some small off-shoot shrubs from the flourishing Redosier Dogwood thicket on the edge of our prairie.

We had tried to start new clumps of dogwood before with no success, before we lived out here, and I suspect that – though we hauled many buckets of pond water to our twigs, that some brutally dry day may have snuffed them out when we weren’t here.

So we planted our new hedge with high hopes, but a wait-and-see attitude.

w-pondWhat we see is very encouraging.

We tried three transplant methods.

  1. Taking sections of branch about 18” long.  Cutting them flat on the top and at an angle on the bottom.  Making a hole by driving a metal pole into the soil.  Sticking in the twig, watering and mulching with straw.
  2. A few days later I read another planting instruction that said it was crucial to dip the bottom end in rooting hormone.  We had some, so we cut more twigs and added one to the back of each group of 2 twigs (one thick – one thin).
  3. Then I read that the best way was to dig up little shrubs that pop up like satellites around the main shrub.  So we took our power wagon and some wet burlap up to the prairie one more time and dug out about a dozen little shrublets, wrapped their tender roots in wet cloth and planted them immediately beside the twigs.


In the mean time I also brought in an armful of bare red branches and put them in a glass vase.  I was hosting my book club April 19 and wanted a local bouquet. ( I don’t ever get imported cut flowers.  What that toxic industry does to the people and land where they grow those flowers is really terrible.) 

The red twigs looked very pretty.  Then they started to leaf out, and they looked amazing.  Outside every branch was still bare, but inside I had spring on my table for over a month. 

However, seeing how they could leaf out with no root growth at all made me a little suspicious at first of the leaves that began to form on our transplanted twigs.

Now I’m convinced that they are growing from new root support.  My bouquet finally went limp, but the twigs in our new hedge row are going strong!

Which method is working best?

  • Well, the transplanted shrubs have a jump on the others.  They already have multiple branches and are leafing out the fastest. twig
  • The twigs with no hormone are also looking good.

    the twig on the right is smaller, but the root hormone has really kickstarted its leaves.

    the twig on the right is smaller, but the root hormone has really kickstarted its leaves.

  • But I would have to say that the twigs with the rooting hormone seem to be doing a little better.  They were planted a week later, but have caught up with their non-treated cohorts and the leaves look a little greener.

So if you have root hormone and want to use it, it will provide a little boost, but it is NOT necessary.

If you want some Redosier Dogwood in your yard, and I highly recommend this fine plant —  it’s easy  as pie (actually a LOT easier).

Next April, locate some Redosier Dogwood, get permission to take some cuttings and follow our method as described in the previous post.  Redosier Dogwood will beautify your yard both summer and winter, and it will attract birds who like its shelter and its berries and native pollinators who will visit its blossoms.

Our new Redosier Dogwood thicket all mulched in and taking off.

Our new baby Redosier Dogwood thicket all mulched in and ready to take  off.

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