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Trying again with picture. What is this shrub?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DLS1, Nov 6, 2004.

  1. DLS1

    DLS1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,619

    Not sure how to trim it since I don't know what it is. Has red stems and some type of berries on it in the spring. Has tall stems about 5 foot tall and picture is the top of the stems with the leaves. Bush is more like a butterfly bush for density of red branches.

    Do you know what it is and how low to the ground can I trim it?

    What is this shrub 11-06-2004 003.jpg
  2. Geezer

    Geezer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 44

    Cornus sericea is what I believe it to be. Red Twig Dogwood is the common name. It can be pruned like you would any decidous hardwood. What is your interest asking how low you can prune it? Are you trying to contain it?
  3. DLS1

    DLS1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,619

    Thanks for your answer.

    It is two foot from a customers house and it is surrounded on three sides by about 2-1/2 foot high spirea.

    The dogwood gets real bushy in spring and lays on the spirea to support itself and the backside of the spirea doesn't get any sun and therefore doesn't grow any leaves where the dogwood is laying in it.

    So yes I am trying to cut it back as much as possible without killing it.
  4. DLS1

    DLS1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,619

    I will be cutting it back to 2 - 4 " from ground this week now that I know what it is.
  5. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    two to 4 inches? from the ground? is that good?
  6. kickin sum grass

    kickin sum grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 628

    How bout selectivly pruning out limbs to thin it out and then cutting the remainder back but not 2-4". Maybe 2-3'. Cutting at 2-4" will not allow you to cut and make terminal buds there for inducing stem rot as well as weak plants. These plants are also known for cankers. If the overall bush is just to big for the area than you may as well just remove it and try something smaller. Hand prune/ not gas shear. Takes more time but sets the pros apart from the wanna be's.
    Now before people jump me for that, I beleive gas shears have there place but hand pruning is much better for most plants.
  7. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    oh, is that those stupid things that when you remove them, they have invisible thorns , and you get about a million of them in your hand? scrap it, that's my advice
  8. all degree

    all degree LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 344

    Thats no dogwood thats milk weed bobby is right
  9. Geezer

    Geezer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 44

    kickin sum grass is right on target about selectively pruning to reduce the plants size. This plant can grow to be quite large, so continously chasing after it may not be much fun in the long run. You can remove it and plant a more suitable specie in it's place. You could even transplant the dogwood to another spot on site. It's bright red bark adds some color to a winter landscape.

    Rsespectfully, Mr. all degree, I might have missed a little bit on my photo i.d., but it is most assuredly not Asclepias syricia (milk weed). I might have given you a bit of credit if you had guessed Phytolacca americana (Poke weed) as some of it's physical characteristics matched DSL1's description.
    I suggest that you might want to study up on your plant identification skills. It will serve you well in the future.
  10. dkeisala

    dkeisala LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 911

    It's a Red Twig Dogwood for sure. I have several in my landscape including variegated varieties with yellow and white. Dogwoods are prolific in this area. As for pruning, I've always used gas hedge trimmers and maintained them for shape and size. Has never hurt them.

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