Gray Twig Dogwood (Cornus racemosa)

Gray Twig Dogwood

Colorful native shrubby tree, the lovely Gray Twig Dogwood (Cornus racemosa) is a deciduous shrub with ornamental features. Use a few of these for those locations in your yard where you’d like something pretty, but have problematic soils or conditions.

Your Gray Dogwood has a lot to recommend it. The twigs are gray, rather than brown, and are a lovely contrast to the new growth that begins as red. The 4-inch long, lance-shaped foliage is an elegant gray-hued, green that turns a dusky purple/red for autumn.

The late spring flowers appear as clusters of white blossoms that butterflies adore! Later these blooms transition to ornamental white fruit for winter interest. Each berry is held upon a red stem – another decorative accent that is especially attractive in the winter months after the fruit is gone and the red stems remain.

Also spelled Grey Twig, this Dogwood will grow 10-15 feet tall with an equal spread but can be pruned to almost any size. These shrubby trees can be pruned to be both a shrub, single-stemmed tree or multi-stemmed ornamental. Incredibly cold-hardy, these easy-care Gray Twig Dogwoods thrive throughout USDA growing zones 2 to 8!

Planting and Application:

These shrubs or trees are fantastic color in solo plantings as unique flowering accents and specimens. Limb up the lower branches by exposing the multi or single-trunked form to create the accent you need most for your yard! Long hedges gain flowers, foliage and fall color, while the berries provide winter interest while the unique trunk color adds even more interest as the snow flies!

Highly adaptable, your sun gardens and shade gardens alike can be graced by one of these unique deciduous trees! Plant the Gray Twig in groupings that attract birds and wildlife as shelter and nesting sites, plus food for pollinators and songbirds! Hedgerows with their limbs to the ground for maximum windbreaks, privacy and screening! The lovely foliage blocks nosy neighbors and hides an eyesore with ease.

Dress them up, or keep them rustic. We recommend allowing it to grow naturally as an untrimmed hedge. Increase the height of your fence with a friendly “living fence”. You can even add it to the corner of your house in your foundation planting.

  • Decorative Foliage & Twig Color
  • White Spring Flowers & White Fall Fruit
  • Wildlife interest
  • Larger Tree or Shrub Form
  • Hedges, Privacy, Windbreak, Wildlife & Specimens

Tips for Care:

Your Gray Dogwood would clearly be an exceptional addition to your yard under almost any conditions. However, it’s especially valuable as a hardy, ornamental shrub for those areas where you need something a little less fussy. It is adaptable to poor soils, heat, and drought, but is often seen in moist or rocky locations. Give regular water for best results, especially for young plants and during extended droughts. Apply a three-inch layer of mulch over the root system to further cut down on surface evaporation, and keep the foliage clean from mud splashing during rain.

Prune it hard in late winter to early spring to keep your plants healthy, vigorous, and the most colorful. Please note that the new growth is the most brilliantly colored. This simple yearly pruning to thin out some branches are perfect for winter décor. Each fall, perform a renewal pruning, by cutting out a few of the oldest, thickest stems to the ground. Your plant should look healthy and last for decades in your landscape. Once the well-behaved roots are established in your yard, it will tolerate periodic drought, as well. Go ahead and take that vacation.

  • Full Sun or Partial Shade
  • Tolerates Average to Wet Well-Drained Soils
  • Prune Late Winter/Eary Spring
  • Easy to Grow and Maintain
  • Deer Don’t Prefer the Taste

Why not fill in those problem areas of your landscape with a Gray Dogwood today, and reap the rewards of a truly exceptional, and hardy, ornamental shrub?

Gray Twig Dogwood (Cornus racemosa) Details

Common name Gray Twig Dogwood
Botanical name Cornus racemosa
Plant type Deciduous
Hardiness zone 2-8
Growth rate Medium
Height 10 - 15 ft.
Width 10 - 15 ft.
Sunlight Full Sun, Full Shade, Partial Shade
Moisture Medium
Soil condition Widely Adaptable
Pollinator-friendly Yes
Pruning time Late Winter
Flower color White