Can I safely cut red-twigged dogwood in the fall?

Asked July 22, 2019, 12:52 PM EDT

Hello! I posted the item below on a gardening forum on Facebook. I'm wondering if I can get away with doing this without hurting the bushes. Scenario: I have a number of completely out of control red twigged dogwoods on my property (I'm talking 10+ feet tall). I know that the best thing for these guys is to wait until early spring and then cut them back to the ground completely. However, I'd love to make full use of my yard waste subscription before winter and cut them back. They're growing into my neighbor's gutters and the mailman probably hates us because they block his path. Our yard is wild kingdom and cutting these guys down is the next necessary step in its makeover. So the question is, can I cut them down in the summer or early fall and not hurt them? I'll wait if I have to, but I would love to get this project done. Has anyone ever done this and if so, what were your results? Thank you so much! Best, Molly

Ramsey County Minnesota dogwood

2 Responses

Ideally, you should do your trimming when the tree/shrub is dormant, but dogwoods are pretty resilient. I would just not do any trimming in the heat of summer because you will leave it open to dogwood borers. I would wait until September, if you can. Additionally, you want to aim to prune about a 3rd of the mass of the tree.

https://extension.umn.edu/trees-and-shrubs/redosier-dogwood
https://extension.umn.edu/trees-and-shrubs/tatarian-dogwood

Thank you so much!