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Cornus (stolonifera)

Jan Schultz
Forest Plant Ecologist
USDA FS - Hiawatha National Forest
1030 Wright Street
Marquette, Michigan 49855
906.228.4484 (fax)

Family Scientific Name: Cornaceae
Family Common Name: Dogwood Family
Scientific Name: Cornus stolonifera Michaux
Common Name: Red osier dogwood
Species Code: COST4
General Distribution: Marshes, swamps (even coniferous, with tamaracks, spruce and/or cedar) wet shores, sides of rivers and streams, on rock out crops and talus slopes, coniferous and mixed thickets on shores and on sand dunes. A striking shrub with bright red stems. Stems are especially showy in the winter and early spring. Branches are typically red, but may be green. 3-9 feet tall. Flowers clustered in white cymes.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Container (plug)
Time To Grow: 0
Propagule Collection: Seed is collected by hand from locally native plants in the eastern central Upper Peninsula. Flowers from June to August. Seed is a white berry (drupe). Seed is harvested in September and October.
Propagule Processing: Remove the pulp as soon as possible after picking by stripping off the pulp by hand or very lightly in a blender using water or rubbing the berry on a sieve and floating off the pulp. Dry seeds for 1 week. Once the seeds have dried begin stratification.
Pre-Planting Treatments: Stratification: Use a Ziploc-style bag or a small Rubbermaid-style container to mix an equal amount of seeds with either perlite or vermiculite. Add a small amount of water. (There should be no visible water within the bag or container). Place in a refrigerator or cold garage (33-42 degrees F) for at least 2-3 months. Cold store until planted (up to 3 years).
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Propagation Environment: Greenhouse film is made of Standard U.V. 3HL Clear 6 mil (J.R. Johnsons's Greenhouse Supply Inc.) Fans run continuously to circulate the air. Vents open during the summer months for cooling. Container Type: grows best in 24 cell (2"diameter) 14"x8.5"x4" deep flats, and other flats with 2" diameter or more and depths of 4" or more. Sowing Media: Scotts Redi-earth Plug and Seedling Mix. Contains vermiculite, and sphagnum peat moss. Soil is sterile.
Thoroughly moisten the soil with water, mixing in the water with a trowel. Cover the holes in the bottom/sides of the plug tray cells with newspaper so that the soil does not fall out. Fill cells with damp soil and press soil down with a spoon. Refill cell plugs with soil to the top, this time not pressing it down. Water the soil in the cell plugs again. Sow the seeds by hand at a rate of about 1 seed in each small cell and 2 seeds in each cell with a diameter greater than 2.5". Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil or gently press the seeds into the dirt.
Establishment Phase: From Jan. until Aug. the greenhouse thermostat is set at 65 degrees F both day and night. Ambient greenhouse temperatures may reach 100 degrees F during the day in the summer. From Sept. thru Dec. the thermostat is set at 55 Degrees F. During this season ambient greenhouse temperatures may reach 75 degrees F during the day. The greenhouse holds plants at all stages of growth so the temperature setting stays the same for all plants at all stagesof growth. Soil is kept consistently damp during germination. Water using a fine mist or light hose setting only. Newly planted trays are placed on the south side of the greenhouse. No artificial light is used.
Active Growth Phase: The soil does not need to be kept consistently moist. Move trays to cooler north greenhouse tables. No fertilizers are used.
Hardening Phase: In early-late spring, mature plants can be moved into a cold frame with a cover of material that diffuses sunlight to prevent scorching of the plants. When danger of frost has passed leave plants outside. Water less frequently.
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: In the Upper Peninsula, flats are planted from late May to early October. Flats that are not planted in the summer remain in the greenhouse for another season.
Other Comments: May be mercilessly browsed by deer.


Schultz, Jan; Beyer, Patty; Williams, Julie. 2001. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Cornus stolonifera Michaux plants USDA FS - Hiawatha National Forest Marquette, Michigan. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2020/08/05). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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