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Cornus kousa
Cornus kousa

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Zones 3B, 4-9, 14-20
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Cornus nuttallii

Pacific dogwood, Western dogwood
Cornaceae
Trees

CORNUS

All dogwoods offer attractive foliage and blossoms; some have spectacular fruit or winter bark. Leaves of many types turn brilliant colors in fall. What appear to be flower petals in many dogwoods are actually bracts—petal-like modified leaves. These surround the inconspicuous true flowers.

Cornus nuttallii

Grows 50 ft. tall with a 20 ft. spread; one trunk or several. Gray branches in pleasing horizontal pattern. Spectacular when it shows off its gleaming white bracts on bare branches in spring; there is often a second flowering in late summer, when tree is in full leaf. Flowers ringed by four to eight large (to 3-in.-long), rounded or pointed bracts; they may be white or pink-tinged white. Oval, 3–5-in. green leaves turn yellow, red, and pink in autumn. Decorative red fruit in knoblike clusters in fall.

Dislikes routine garden watering, fertilizing, pruning; injury to tender bark provides entrance for insects and diseases. For better chance of success, give exceptionally good drainage and infrequent summer water, and plant under high-branching trees in more southerly part of range so bark will not sunburn. In Northwest, however, planting under larger trees is not advisable. C. nuttallii is very susceptible to anthracnose in this region, and a location under larger trees creates conditions that favor the disease—reduced air circulation and shadiness that extend time for wet foliage to dry.

Named varieties better tolerate garden conditions.

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