This relative of the flowering dogwood is a favourite of streamkeepers for its ability to root without any help as long as its 'feet' are wet. Photo by K. Clouston

This relative of the flowering dogwood is a favourite of streamkeepers for its ability to root without any help as long as its 'feet' are wet. Photo by K. Clouston

Although not as showy as the flowering dogwood, the Red Osier Dogwood has many attractive qualities as the new wood is red, which shows well in the winter, while the flower clusters are white against the green leaves as are the bitter berries, if the birds leave any to be admired.  This dogwood is a shrub although it can get up to 6m tall and quite bushy.  If not pruned it can get pretty unruly due to its ability to reroot from any part that touches the ground.

Red Osier Dogwood puts on a spectacular display in the Fall.  Photo by K. Clouston

Red Osier Dogwood puts on a spectacular display in the Fall. Photo by K. Clouston

Propagation :  For those that want to improve their riparian area with this attractive, and pain free, inhabitant of moist riparian areas, you need to cut the green, older, stems that are about finger diameter and then stick them in the ground until they reach the water level.  They will probably remain as ‘sticks’ until the next spring when they will begin to put out leaves and take hold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The red of the new growth provides a hint of colour during the drab winter.

The red of the new growth provides a hint of colour during the drab winter.

This plant is extremely important winter food for deer and elk and I know in my ‘backyard’ the deer will remove the new leaves before the ‘sticks’ have a chance to really gain enough strength to survive so you might want to shield your ‘sticks’ until they are strong enough to persist.  Once they are established it is hard to tell whether the deer are eating them or not and they do just fine.  I don’t know what, besides the birds, eat the berries but I do know that in my patch there are none left by spring and the patch is full of birds through the winter and into spring.