Asked November 15, 2016, 6:38 AM EST

I live in London, Ontario, Canada and am having trouble getting info on when to prune my dogwood shrub, fall or spring? I have been doing it in the spring and cutting back to the ground but the shrub is not coming back as I think it should. Starts to look good about September and then of course winter is upon us. Can you help? I think it is a 'halo' but not sure....varigated green leaves with white borders and pink flowers. Thank you!!

Outside United States

1 Response

Good Morning,

Sounds like you have one of the Cornus alba cultivars. C. alba 'Ivory Halo' is one of them. Roundish shrub with variegated leaves.

Spring renovation pruning is good. However, I would recommend not doing the entire shrub every year. You are probably enjoying the red stems, particularly in the snow. I suggest complete stem removal to 6 or 8 inches above ground every other year. Year to year, try fall removal of the oldest, gray stemmed branches to maximize the number of young, red branches.

You do have a few disease issues to worry over, particularly crown canker. Look at this document from Cornell for more information on that.


Good Luck!